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National framework sets professional benchmarks for community workers

A new code of ethics and set of practice guidelines have been released by the Australian Community Workers Association to support best practice in the sector.

The standards cover community workers employed in a diverse range of areas including aged care, disability services, mental health and housing and have been developed in consultation with practitioners, industry and education providers.

The national professional body for community workers said the national guidelines provide a framework for community work practice and a benchmark for experienced workers and those entering the sector.

“The guidelines are not intended to conflict with the requirements of an employing organisation but they do set out a minimum acceptable standard,” said ACWA.

“For students, these guidelines provide an understanding of the practice goals they will need to work towards.”

The body said community workers can also use the guidelines to help identify skill gaps and training needs and plan their continuing education. For managers, the guidelines can be used as a tool in staff performance reviews and staff training.

The eight guidelines cover areas such as confidentiality in the workplace, working with diverse communities, working in a home environment and professional development.

The association has also produced a self-assessment tool for community workers to support the translation of the guidelines into practice.

“The practice guidelines are also a key resource for service providers and employers. The guidelines and indicators can be used as part of the recruitment process to ensure candidates have the necessary competencies,” said ACWA.

ACWA’s code of ethics can be downloaded here and the Australian Community Practice guidelines are available here.

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