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Further centralising the service user

We have improved the central role of the service user. This includes registrants understanding the importance of valid consent and effective communication in providing good care.

The key changes in the updated standards of proficiency can be grouped into a number of themes, of which this is one. The changes in the updated standards extend beyond these themes. To see them all, download the
full standards for your profession >


How we understand a service user’s consent has been evolving and our new standards ask registrants to take a wider range of circumstances into account when determining consent. Standards on confidentiality have also been strengthened and reference emerging technology implications.

Specific standards:

Relevant standards are across several different sections covering confidentiality, communication, quality assurance and EDI.

Registrants must:

  • 2.2: promote and protect the service user’s interests at all times
  • 2.5: respect and uphold the rights, dignity, values, and autonomy of service users, including their role in the assessment, diagnostic, treatment and/or therapeutic process
  • 2.6: recognise that relationships with service users, carers and others should be based on mutual respect and trust, maintaining high standards of care in all circumstances
  • 6.4: understand the need to ensure confidentiality is maintained in all situations in which service users rely on additional communication support (such as interpreters or translators)
  • 7.1: use effective and appropriate verbal and non-verbal skills to communicate with service users, carers, colleagues and others
  • 7.4: work with service users and/or their carers to facilitate the service user’s preferred role in decision-making, and provide service users and carers with the information they may need where appropriate
  • 7.5: modify their own means of communication to address the individual communication needs and preferences of service users and carers, and remove any barriers to communication where possible
  • 7.6: understand the need to support the communication needs of service users and carers, such as through the use of an appropriate interpreter 
  • 7.8: understand the need to provide service users or people acting on their behalf with the information necessary in accessible formats to enable them to make informed decisions
  • 8.1: work in partnership with service users, carers, colleagues and others
  • 8.5: identify anxiety and stress in service users, carers and colleagues, adapting their practice and providing support where appropriate
  • 11.2: gather and use feedback and information, including qualitative and quantitative data, to evaluate the responses of service users to their care
  • 11.5: evaluate care plans or intervention plans using recognised and appropriate outcome measures, in conjunction with the service user where possible, and revise the plans as necessary
  • 13.11: engage service users in research as appropriate


Expectations of registrants:

  • Registrants will already be offering care which is in the best interests of their service users
  • These changes ask registrants to broaden how they think about those interests, and where service user’s needs might require closer scrutiny
  • Every service user is unique, but registrants must be especially mindful of the needs of service users living with a disability or a health condition which impacts their ability to communicate
  • Registrants should consider what additional steps they can take to ensure that a service user remains fully involved in their care
  • Where a service user may not be able to be involved, registrants should document what steps they have taken to involve the service user’s carer, family member, and/or representative

Registrants should use their professional judgement when applying these standards. How you meet the standards will depend on your role, your workplace and your individual scope of practice.

What registrants need to do

Registrants need to ensure that they meet the updated standards as far as they relate to their scope of practice. We recommend dedicating some continuing professional development (CPD) time to making sure that any gaps between the standards and your current practice are filled. Our gap analysis tool can be a good starting point for this.

Evidence of these activities does not need to be submitted to the HCPC outside of a normal CPD audit. If you are selected for CPD audit, we’ll contact you at the beginning of your renewal window.



Fact sheet on further centralising the service user

Further centralising the service user fact sheet (PDF)

Summary video on further centralising the service user

#myHCPCstandards webinar on further centralising the service user

A 45-minute webinar on this theme, hosted by HCPC's Professional Liaison Consultant Fiona Campbell. This session sets out the context for the updates and take a more in-depth look at each theme. 

Resources from this webinar:

Gap analysis tool

Learn about the changes

Themes: Find out more on what is different

The key changes in the updated standards of proficiency can be grouped into a number of themes. The themes are:

Across all the standards, the wording has moved away from passive understanding and towards active implementation of the standards

Page updated on: 05/10/2023