Use of social media by practitioners & volunteers – advice for all

Digital technology has become an important part of everyday life; however an increasing number of cases where workplace practice has exposed the inappropriate use of technology, grooming behaviour and an inability to challenge colleagues has highlighted the need for clear practice guidance for workers and organisations around safer working practice.

Anyone who works with children, young people, adults or their families, whether in a voluntary or paid capacity, must always have their professional role in mind when operating in the digital world and should always consider how their behaviour could affect their professional reputation and employment. All digital records should be considered to be permanent.

MSAB and MSCB expects all partner agencies to have their own advice and guidance in place, which includes:

This guidance is not intended to interfere in an employee or volunteer’s private life, but to help avoid work and private lives clashing in inappropriate ways because of social networking activities.

Good practice guidelines


Inappropriate behaviour

Policy and Procedures
The Boards expect all member agencies to have policies in place to support online safety practice. The following list is not exhaustive:

An example of an ICT Acceptable Use Policy for staff and young people (AUP) can be found in chapter 4.2 of the GMSP procedures as Appendix 1: Example of an ICT Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) for Staff and Young People.

The GMSP procedures also contain a section Safer Working Practices for Those Working or Volunteering with Children and a link to ‘E-Safety Working Practices for Staff Procedure’ which sets out good practice guidelines when working with children and young people.

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) guidance
The HCPC have published guidance on social media which contains useful pointers for professionals and students about how to interact using social media in a way that meets their standards.

The guidance focuses on issues that registrants and other stakeholders come across most frequently. It was informed by an online workshop and public consultation and complements guidance produced by professional bodies.

The guidance explains what HCPC standards mean when using social media and they have structured part of the guidance under the areas of their standards which apply to the appropriate use of social media.

Download the Guidance on social media from the HCPC website

To accompany the guidance there are some ‘top tips’ and useful case studies that demonstrate the positive and negative effects of social media on registrants’ practice.


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