What is Duty of Care?

What is Duty of Care?

Duty of Care is about individual wellbeing, welfare, compliance and good practice.

All workplaces, whether a school, a business, or a voluntary organisation have a moral and a legal obligation to ensure that everyone associated with the establishment, whether employee, volunteer, student, tradesperson or the general public, is fully protected from any personal physical and/or emotional harm, either on the premises or when engaged in activities relating to the establishment.

Typical areas of concern are fire safety, health and safety, food safety, personal safety, child and adult protection (plus wider safeguarding such as safer recruitment), equality, bullying, violence, harassment, stress, or discrimination from any source.

A breach of duty occurs when one person or an organisation has a duty of care toward another person or organisation but fails to live up to that standard. A person may be liable for negligence in a personal injury case if their breach of duty caused another person's injuries or mental ill health.

By being able to demonstrate that anyone requiring training on these areas has been trained and is up to date, the employer is able to provide evidence that they have taken reasonable precautions to ensure that the wellbeing of every person associated with the establishment is supported.

A clear benefit for the employer is that when everyone associated with their organisation can see that their wellbeing is important they feel much more valued and it builds trust and job satisfaction. They will also feel empowered to raise concerns about unsafe practice and to act on their concerns.

By taking effective steps to ensure that all relevant individuals receive the right training the organisation can promote good practice, reduce risk, eliminate ignorance and create and sustain a safe environment.

How is this achieved:

  • By making a clear policy statement on duty of care. Ignorance is no excuse
  • Training all relevant individuals on the basic issues
  • Keeping the training up to date
  • Keeping up-to-date training records and displaying certification
  • Providing clear communication channels for reporting concerns
  • Recording concerns and all further actions taken
  • Reporting outcomes.

Consequences of breaching Duty of Care Obligations

The consequences of breaching duty of care obligations are typically financial and reputational which can place an organisation or an individual under severe pressure.

Financial settlements can be made under a personal agreement, but are more likely to be decided in courts of law. This is typically very expensive and time-consuming and can also result in significant negative publicity; damaging the organisation’s reputation and affecting the morale of other people associated with the organisation.

EduCare can help

As experts in Duty of Care our comprehensive e-learning services contain a complete portfolio of up-to-date courses that will ensure that all staff are fully trained in all essential duty of care topics and a robust reporting suite that evidences all learning.

Return to news