Extract from the Ethical Framework
13. We must be competent to deliver the services being offered to at least fundamental professional standards or better. When we consider satisfying professional standards requires consulting others with relevant expertise, seeking second opinions, or making referrals, we will do so in ways that meet our commitments and obligations for client confidentiality and data protection.
14. We will keep skills and knowledge up to date by:
a. reading professional journals, books and/or reliable electronic resources
b. keeping ourselves informed of any relevant research and evidence-based guidance
c. discussions with colleagues working with similar issues
d. reviewing our knowledge and skills in supervision or discussion with experienced practitioners
e. regular continuing professional development to update knowledge and skills
f. keeping up to date with the law, regulations and any other requirements, including guidance from this Association, relevant to our work
15. We will keep accurate records that:
- are adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary for the type of service being provided
- comply with the applicable data protection requirements – see Information Commissioner's Office website
16. We will collaborate with colleagues over our work with specific clients where this is consistent with client consent and will enhance services to the client.
17. We will work collaboratively with colleagues to improve services and offer mutual support – see 56–59 Working with colleagues and in teams.
18. We will maintain our own physical and psychological health at a level that enables us to work effectively with our clients – see 91 Care of self as a practitioner.
19. We will be covered by adequate insurance when providing services directly or indirectly to the public.
20. We will fulfil the ethical principles and values set out in this Ethical Framework regardless of whether working online, face-to-face or using any other methods of communication. The technical and practical knowledge may vary according to how services are delivered but all our services will be delivered to at least fundamental professional standards or better.
Does the commitment to keeping records mean we all have to keep records in the same way?
No. How we keep records should be guided by whether they are sufficient for the purpose for which the client agrees the work is undertaken. Records should not be excessive, for some types of work this may mean that records are be minimal, while for others it may be appropriate to have detailed notes because that supports and underpins the work.
Is there ever a justifiable case for not keeping records?
The nature of our work means our records contain personally sensitive data, so there are legal requirements which we need to meet. The client has to explicitly consent to records being kept and we have to ensure those records are secure. If we can't meet either of those conditions, that would be good grounds for not keeping a record. However, this may then cause the service to face difficult decisions about whether they feel they can provide a safe service. Generally we're expected to keep records, like any other profession, not to do so would be exceptional.
Respecting someone’s dignity is important if they are undergoing a physical examination or treatment, especially if it is intimate, but what does that mean for us when we work mainly through talking and listening?
Dignity has an important role to play in how we approach our work with clients. Respecting a client’s dignity means protecting them from embarrassment, or how they appear in the eyes of others. A typical example would be where someone becomes very distressed, as part of the therapy, and how we help them when they leave our room. How we greet a client or end a session may be very important to someone’s sense of regaining control, or putting up a public face. We also need to think about dignity when working with people from different cultures who may have different views and ways of being.