04 September 2017

How to use social media and meet HCPC Standards

Policy officer Olivia Bird discusses the HCPC’s new Guidance on social media, and how it can help registrants ensure that their use of social media is both professional and effective.

Social media is a key communication tool of the modern world, and is popular amongst many of our registrants. The HCPC is aware that the vast majority of our registrants who use social media already do so responsibly, in line with our standards, and with no difficulty at all. The HCPC believes there is no reason why these registrants shouldn’t keep on using social media with confidence. However, as a regulator we often receive queries from registrants wanting to ensure that the way they access these platforms meets our standards.

As a result we have launched our new Guidance on social media. The guidance focuses on issues registrants and other stakeholders told us they come across most frequently, and aims to provide reassurance and confidence that they are meeting the HCPC’s Standards of conduct, performance and ethics when using social media.

The guidance is complementary to other guidance, such as that produced by some professional bodies to support their members in getting the most from this technology.

The guidance is divided into four sections which includes top tips and using social media in line with HCPC standards.

Some of the top tips are:
• Think before you post. Assume that what you post could be shared and read by anyone.
• Think about who can see what you share and manage your privacy settings accordingly. Remember that privacy settings cannot guarantee that something you post will not be publicly visible.
• Maintain appropriate professional boundaries if you communicate with colleagues, service users or carers.
• Do not post information which could identify a service user unless you have their permission.
• When in doubt, get advice. Appropriate sources might include experienced colleagues, trade unions and professional bodies. You can also contact us if you are unsure about our standards. If you think something could be inappropriate or offensive, do not post it.

You can download the HCPC’s Guidance on social media, and learn more about using social media in line with our standards here.

The HCPC will be holding a tweetchat focusing on the new guidance from 6.30pm on Tuesday September 12, 2017. Join in by following @The_HCPC and using the hashtag #my_guidance.