1.2 Describe how duty of care relates to duty of candour

1.2 Describe how duty of care relates to duty of candour

Duty of Care Answers

Care Learning

7 mins READ

This guide will help you answer The RQF Level 2 Diploma in Care Unit 1.2 Describe how duty of care relates to duty of candour.

Both “duty of care” and “duty of candour” are fundamental principles in the health and social care sector. Understanding their relationship is crucial for anyone completing the RQF Level 2 Diploma in Care.

This guide will explain these concepts in detail and how they interconnect.

What is Duty of Care?

Duty of care is a legal obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of others. In health and social care, it means providing high-quality care and support to individuals while preventing harm.

Legal Framework

In the UK, duty of care is governed by laws such as the Care Act 2014. Employers and employees must both adhere to this duty. This includes following guidelines and aiming for the best possible outcomes for service users.


Workers must always act in the best interests of the people they support. This involves:

  • Identifying and managing risks.
  • Following policies and procedures.
  • Reporting concerns about safety or well-being.
  • Seeking help when unsure about how to handle a situation.

Failure to comply with these responsibilities can have serious consequences, including legal action.

What is Duty of Candour?

The duty of candour is a legal requirement for health and social care providers to be open and honest with service users when things go wrong. It applies to all registered providers under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014.

Legal Framework

Regulation 20 of the Health and Social Care Act 2008: Regulations 2014 sets out the duty of candour. It mandates organisations to notify service users about incidents that have caused harm or have the potential to cause harm.


Under the duty of candour, care providers must:

  • Inform the service user or their family about what happened.
  • Apologise to the service user or their family.
  • Offer a full explanation.
  • Provide written documentation of the incident and correspondence.

This approach aims to foster trust and transparency between service users and care providers.

Relationship Between Duty of Care and Duty of Candour

Now, let’s explore how duty of care and duty of candour relate to each other.

Shared Ethical Foundation

Both duties are rooted in ethical principles of responsibility, honesty, and transparency. They aim to protect and promote the well-being of service users. By adhering to these principles, care providers can build a trusting relationship with those they support.

Legal and Professional Obligations

Though they stem from different regulations, both duties are legally binding. Failure to comply with either can result in penalties, loss of employment, or even legal proceedings. Therefore, understanding and integrating both duties into daily practice is essential for legal and professional compliance.

Response to Incidents

Duty of care involves managing risks to prevent incidents. If something does go wrong, duty of candour comes into play. This sequence ensures that incidents are not only prevented but also properly addressed if they occur. In this way, duty of candour supports the duty of care by ensuring transparency and rectification after an incident.

Example Scenario

Consider a scenario where a service user falls due to a wet floor. Duty of care would require staff to keep floors dry and provide warnings about hazards. However, if the fall occurs, duty of candour would require staff to inform the service user and their family, offer an apology, explain what went wrong, and document the incident.

Building Trust

Adhering to both duties helps in establishing a foundation of trust. When service users know that care providers are committed to both preventing harm and being honest about any incidents, they are more likely to feel safe and secure. This trust is crucial for effective care provision.

Organisational Culture

Both duties play a significant role in shaping organisational culture. A commitment to high standards of care (duty of care) and openness (duty of candour) fosters a culture of continuous improvement, integrity, and mutual respect.

Implementing Both Duties in Practice

Training and Education

All staff should receive ongoing training on both duty of care and duty of candour. This training should cover:

  • Identifying and managing risks.
  • Legal requirements.
  • Best practices for communication.
  • Procedures for reporting and documenting incidents.

Policies and Procedures

Clear policies should be in place to guide staff in fulfilling both duties. These policies should be accessible and regularly reviewed to ensure they remain relevant and effective.

Reporting and Documentation

Effective systems for reporting and documenting incidents are essential. Staff should know how to use these systems and what information to include. Documentation serves as a record of compliance with both duties and can be crucial in legal proceedings.

Support and Supervision

Supervision sessions should address both duties. This provides an opportunity for staff to discuss concerns, share experiences, and seek guidance. Supportive supervision helps to reinforce the importance of these duties in everyday practice.

Challenges and Considerations

Ethical Dilemmas

Staff may face ethical dilemmas when balancing duty of care and duty of candour. For instance, disclosing an incident might upset the service user or their family. Nevertheless, honesty is essential, and these situations should be handled with sensitivity and support.

Emotional Impact

Being open about incidents can be emotionally challenging for staff. Organisations should provide support, such as counselling, to help staff cope with these situations.

Continuous Improvement

Both duties require a commitment to learning and improvement. Organisations should encourage a culture where mistakes are seen as opportunities for growth. Regular audits and feedback mechanisms can help identify areas for improvement.

Example answers for 1.2 Describe how duty of care relates to duty of candour

Below are example answers for different scenarios and questions a care worker might encounter regarding the relationship between duty of care and duty of candour.

These examples aim to provide clarity and demonstrate how these principles are integrated into everyday practice.

Example Answer 1: General Understanding

Question: Can you explain how the duty of care relates to the duty of candour?

“Duty of care and duty of candour are both crucial in ensuring the well-being and trust of the people we support. The duty of care requires me to prevent harm and provide high-quality care by following guidelines, managing risks, and reporting any concerns. When something goes wrong, the duty of candour requires me to be open and honest with the service user and their family. This involves informing them about the incident, offering a sincere apology, explaining what happened, and providing any necessary documentation. By doing this, I help build trust and ensure transparency, which are fundamental to providing effective care.”

Example Answer 2: Scenario-Based

Scenario: A service user, Mr. Smith, slips and falls in the bathroom because the floor was wet.

“In this situation, my duty of care involved ensuring that the bathroom floors were kept dry and clean, and that warnings about potential hazards were clearly visible. However, despite these precautions, Mr. Smith fell. According to the duty of candour, I must take the following steps:

  1. Inform Mr. Smith and his family about the incident immediately.
  2. Apologise sincerely for what happened.
  3. Give a clear explanation of how and why the incident occurred.
  4. Document the incident and all communications related to it.

By following these steps, I adhere to both the duty of care and the duty of candour, ensuring that Mr. Smith and his family are fully informed and that steps are taken to prevent a similar incident in the future.”

Example Answer 3: Training and Compliance

Question: How do you ensure you are meeting your duty of care and duty of candour in your daily work?

“To meet my duty of care, I follow all established guidelines and procedures, regularly assess risks, and take proactive steps to prevent harm. This includes attending training sessions, staying updated with best practices, and consulting with colleagues and supervisors when in doubt.

For the duty of candour, I ensure open and honest communication with service users and their families, especially when incidents occur. I inform them promptly about any mistakes or accidents, offer apologies, provide clear explanations, and document everything thoroughly.

Regular supervision and team meetings also help reinforce these duties, allowing us to discuss challenges and share strategies for improvement. This comprehensive approach ensures that I am consistently providing high-quality care while maintaining transparency and trust with those I support.”

Example Answer 4: Addressing Ethical Dilemmas

Question: How do you handle situations where being open and honest might upset the service user or their family?

“Balancing honesty with sensitivity can be challenging, but it’s essential for maintaining trust and ensuring ethical care. When faced with such situations, I approach the conversation with empathy and compassion. I choose a private, comfortable setting and ensure that I have enough time to fully address their concerns.

I start by clearly explaining the situation and acknowledging their feelings. I offer a sincere apology and take responsibility for any mistakes. I also provide a detailed explanation and answer any questions they might have.

To support them further, I discuss the steps we are taking to prevent similar incidents in the future. Providing written documentation can help them understand the measures being implemented.

By handling these conversations with care, I aim to maintain trust and transparency, even when the information is difficult to hear.”

Example Answer 5: Organisational Culture

Question: How do you contribute to a culture of transparency and trust within your organisation?

“I contribute to a culture of transparency and trust by actively practising and promoting both duty of care and duty of candour. I lead by example, adhering to all guidelines and best practices to ensure high-quality care. I also encourage open communication among my colleagues, sharing experiences, and discussing safety concerns openly.

During team meetings and training sessions, I emphasise the importance of these duties and support my colleagues in understanding and implementing them. I also participate in regular audits and feedback mechanisms to identify areas for improvement and ensure that we are continuously enhancing our care standards.

By fostering a supportive and open environment, we can all contribute to a culture where safety, transparency, and trust are prioritised, benefiting both the service users and the team.”

Example Answer 6: Emotional Impact

Question: How do you cope with the emotional challenges of being open about mistakes or incidents?

“Coping with the emotional challenges of being open about mistakes can be difficult, but it is an essential part of providing ethical care. I rely on several strategies to manage these challenges effectively:

  1. Support from Colleagues: I talk to my colleagues and supervisors about my feelings and experiences. Their support and advice can be incredibly helpful.
  2. Training and Resources: I attend training sessions that focus on communication skills and handling difficult conversations. These sessions provide tools and techniques to manage emotional stress.
  3. Professional Help: If needed, I seek counselling or professional support to help me deal with the emotional impact. Many organisations offer employee assistance programmes that can provide this kind of support.
  4. Self-Care: I practice self-care by maintaining a healthy work-life balance, engaging in activities I enjoy, and ensuring I have time to relax and recharge.

By combining these strategies, I can better manage the emotional challenges and continue to provide honest and compassionate care.”

These example answers aim to demonstrate how a care worker can understand and apply the principles of duty of care and duty of candour in various contexts while maintaining a clear and empathetic approach.


Duty of care and duty of candour are interrelated principles essential for providing high-quality health and social care.

By understanding and fulfilling both duties, care workers can ensure they are protecting the well-being of service users and maintaining trusting, transparent relationships. Training, clear policies, and supportive supervision are key to effectively implementing these duties in practice.

Despite inherent challenges, a commitment to both can lead to continuous improvement and a culture of trust and integrity within care organisations.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

You cannot copy content of this page