What is Duty of Care?

Sam Preston 22 December 2023 1 min read
What is Duty of Care? feature image

Duty of Care Definition

Duty of Care is a concept that applies to various fields like education, health, sports, charities, and community groups. In simple terms, it's about ensuring everyone is safe, following the rules, and doing things correctly.

Duty of Care in Schools

Schools have a moral and legal responsibility to protect the well-being of everyone onsite. This includes employees, volunteers, pupils, visitors, and anyone connected to the setting, and involves ensuring they are not hurt physically or emotionally whilst onsite or participating in related school activities.

Duty of care includes practical elements such as fire safety, health and safety, ensuring the food is safe and personal safety, but also includes preventing bullying, violence, harassment, stress and discrimination.

Breach of Duty of Care

If someone, a group or organisation doesn't meet this responsibility, it's called a breach of duty of care. For example, if someone is injured because action was not taken to make the site safe the school might be considered negligent.

As employers, schools must evidence that everyone who needs it has been appropriately trained and is up-to-date with policy and procedures. They must demonstrate that they are taking reasonable steps to keep everyone safe.

To make sure Duty of Care is carried out well, here are some essential steps:

  • Clearly state and ensure everyone understands the rules about Duty of Care;
  • Provide training as part of the induction process for everyone on the school's expectations and the basics to keep them and others safe;
  • Keeping training updated;
  • Keep records of trainees and their certificates;
  • Ensure there are mechanisms in place that make it easy for people to report problems;
  • Record all concerns and what action is taken to resolve them;
  • Report regularly to governance.

There can be severe consequences if someone or an organisation doesn't meet their Duty of Care. This can not only have financial implications but could also damage the reputations.

Sam Preston

SSS Learning Safeguarding Director

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