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Reviewing the standards of conduct, performance and ethics

We review our standards on a regular basis to ensure they remain relevant to current practice

The standards of conduct, performance and ethics (SCPEs) are an essential set of standards for all our stakeholders – from registrants and service users to education providers and trade unions. They are also essential to the functionality of HCPC as a regulator.

The SCPEs are important because they:

  • set out, in general terms, how we expect our registrants to behave;
  • outline what the public should expect from their health and care professional;
  • help us to make decisions about the character of professionals who apply to our Register, and
  • are used if someone raises a concern about a registrant’s practice: when things go wrong, they help us to decide whether it is necessary to take action.

Reviewing the standards

We regularly review the SCPEs to make sure they are relevant to current practice, that they incorporate EDI commitments and that they can be clearly understood by those who use them.

The latest review of the SPCEs began in autumn 2022. 

The stages of the review are:

  1. A pre-consultation period
  2. A formal consultation on the ten standards themselves
  3. A separate consultation on the guidance and online materials that we publish alongside the standards

Pre-consultation period

During the pre-consultation period we ran workshops with different stakeholder groups and a survey that any stakeholder could feed into. Through these, we gathered insight info how individuals use the standards, what they think of them, and what changes they may need. If you missed the workshops, you can watch a live recording below.

Formal consultations

As the consultation phase begins, we'll update this page with information on how you can feed in your thoughts.

More about the standards

As a quick reminder, below are the 10 standards. You can find more information about them on the standards of conduct, performance and ethics page. 

The standards


  • Treat service users and carers with respect

    1.1 You must treat service users and carers as individuals, respecting their privacy and dignity.

    1.2 You must work in partnership with service users and carers, involving them, where appropriate, in decisions about the care, treatment or other services to be provided.

    1.3 You must encourage and help service users, where appropriate, to maintain their own health and well-being, and support them so they can make informed decisions.

    Make sure you have consent

    1.4 You must make sure that you have consent from service users or other appropriate authority before you provide care, treatment or other services.

    Challenge discrimination

    1.5 You must not discriminate against service users, carers or colleagues by allowing your personal views to affect your professional relationships or the care, treatment or other services that you provide.

    1.6 You must challenge colleagues if you think that they have discriminated against, or are discriminating against, service users, carers and colleagues.

    Maintain appropriate boundaries

    1.7 You must keep your relationships with service users and carers professional.


  • Communicate with service users and carers

    2.1 You must be polite and considerate.

    2.2 You must listen to service users and carers and take account of their needs and wishes.

    2.3 You must give service users and carers the information they want or need, in a way they can understand.

    2.4 You must make sure that, where possible, arrangements are made to meet service users’ and carers’ language and communication needs.

    Work with colleagues

    2.5 You must work in partnership with colleagues, sharing your skills, knowledge and experience where appropriate, for the benefit of service users and carers.

    2.6 You must share relevant information, where appropriate, with colleagues involved in the care, treatment or other services provided to a service user.

    Social media and networking websites

    2.7 You must use all forms of communication appropriately and responsibly, including social media and networking websites.


  • Keep within your scope of practice

    3.1 You must keep within your scope of practice by only practising in the areas you have appropriate knowledge, skills and experience for.

    3.2 You must refer a service user to another practitioner if the care, treatment or other services they need are beyond your scope of practice.

    Maintain and develop your knowledge and skills

    3.3 You must keep your knowledge and skills up to date and relevant to your scope of practice through continuing professional development.

    3.4 You must keep up to date with and follow the law, our guidance and other requirements relevant to your practice.

    3.5 You must ask for feedback and use it to improve your practice.


  • Delegation, oversight and support

    4.1 You must only delegate work to someone who has the knowledge, skills and experience needed to carry it out safely and effectively.

    4.2 You must continue to provide appropriate supervision and
    support to those you delegate work to.


  • Using information

    5.1 You must treat information about service users as confidential.

    Disclosing information

    5.2 You must only disclose confidential information if:

    - you have permission;
    - the law allows this;
    - it is in the service user’s best interests; or
    - it is in the public interest, such as if it is necessary to protect public safety or prevent harm to other people.


  • Identify and minimise risk

    6.1 You must take all reasonable steps to reduce the risk of harm to service users, carers and colleagues as far as possible.

    6.2 You must not do anything, or allow someone else to do anything, which could put the health or safety of a service user, carer or colleague at unacceptable risk.

    Manage your health

    6.3 You must make changes to how you practise, or stop practising, if your physical or mental health may affect your performance or judgement, or put others at risk for any other reason.


  • Report concerns

    7.1 You must report any concerns about the safety or well-being of service users promptly and appropriately.

    7.2 You must support and encourage others to report concerns and not prevent anyone from raising concerns.

    7.3 You must take appropriate action if you have concerns about the safety or well-being of children or vulnerable adults.

    7.4 You must make sure that the safety and well-being of service users always comes before any professional or other loyalties.

    Follow up concerns

    7.5 You must follow up concerns you have reported and, if necessary, escalate them.

    7.6 You must acknowledge and act on concerns raised to you, investigating, escalating or dealing with those concerns where it is appropriate for you to do so.


  • Openness with service users and carers

    8.1 You must be open and honest when something has gone wrong with the care, treatment or other services that you provide by:

    – informing service users or, where appropriate, their carers, that something has gone wrong;
    – apologising;
    – taking action to put matters right if possible; and
    – making sure that service users or, where appropriate, their carers, receive a full and prompt explanation of what has happened and any likely effects.

    Deal with concerns and complaints

    8.2 You must support service users and carers who want to raise concerns about the care, treatment or other services they have received.

    8.3 You must give a helpful and honest response to anyone who complains about the care, treatment or other services they have received.


  • Personal and professional behaviour

    9.1 You must make sure that your conduct justifies the public’s trust and confidence in you and your profession.

    9.2 You must be honest about your experience, qualifications and skills.

    9.3 You must make sure that any promotional activities you are involved in are accurate and are not likely to mislead.

    9.4 You must declare issues that might create conflicts of interest and make sure that they do not influence your judgement.

    Important information about your conduct and competence

    9.5 You must tell us as soon as possible if:

    – you accept a caution from the police or you have been charged with, or found guilty of, a criminal offence;
    – another organisation responsible for regulating a health or social-care profession has taken action or made a finding against you; or
    – you have had any restriction placed on your practice, or been suspended or dismissed by an employer, because of concerns about your conduct or competence.

    9.6 You must co-operate with any investigation into your conduct or competence, the conduct or competence of others, or the care, treatment or other services provided to service users.


  • Keep accurate records

    10.1 You must keep full, clear, and accurate records for everyone you care for, treat, or provide other services to.

    10.2 You must complete all records promptly and as soon as possible after providing care, treatment or other services.

    Keep records secure

    10.3 You must keep records secure by protecting them from loss, damage or inappropriate access.

Standards last updated 26/01/2016, download the original document here
Page updated on: 15/08/2022
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