Values & Ethics
Social care work is underpinned by core values such as "respect for the dignity and worth of every individual, the promotion of social justice and equality, honesty and integrity, and the recognition that human potential is most often realised within the interplay between the independence and interdependency of individuals, families, groups and, indeed, societies" (SCI, 2021, n.p). The core values of social care inform how social care workers go about their day to day tasks and the way in which they 'are' in their daily practice.
Of course, we all bring our own values to the work also. Knowing your value base is important, as this can have an impact on how you work. How do your own values align with those outlined above? When personal and professional values align, workers are more motivated and committed. Have you ever (purposively or accidentally) imposed your values on to someone you are working with? This can happen, particularly if the worker has not had an opportunity to question their value base and where their individual values are coming from.
The Code of Conduct and Ethics (2019) is an important document for those working in the social care profession. There are certain ethical parameters to the work that must be upheld, for example, acting in the best interests of service users or maintaining confidentiality. These parameters around professional conduct are not separate to the work, they are part of it, and the very nature of values, conduct and ethics are embedded in what we do and how we do it. Think about conducting an assessment with a service user. The way in which you have carried out this work has been informed by the values, ethics and standards around conduct that are expected of social care workers. For example:
Have you been respectful and sensitive to the individual's situation/ experience?
Has their voice been heard in this process? Have they been, or supported to be, an active participant?
Did you maintain confidentiality and treat their information with care and discretion?