Social media has become part of day-to-day life for many, and members may well be using different forms of social media for both personal and professional purposes. ACAT does not have a specific social media policy for members, but has drafted some guidance in relation to using it in a professional capacity. This is separate to ACAT’s official Social Media Policy, which can be found on the ACAT website: https://www.acat.me.uk/page/policies+and+official+documents
As CAT practitioners, psychotherapists and health care professionals using social media, ACAT encourages each member to adhere to their core profession's professional code of conduct, and any related social media policy. ACAT encourages members to also refer to the policies of their regulatory body (e.g. HCPC) and their employer(s) when using social media.
ACAT's Code of Ethics and Practice ( https://www.acat.me.uk/page/code+of+ethics+and+practice ) includes reference to social media. Breaches of this code in relation to social media will be approached in the same way as other breaches, i.e. “where a breach of this Code is perceived by either a client or a fellow member of ACAT, the Association has a Concerns and Complaints Procedure in order to investigate such a breach and take appropriate action should it be found that a breach has occurred.”
Expectations for social media use by members include:
a) Acting in the best interests of service users at all times
b) The confidentiality of service users must be respected at all times. Social media posts should never include material which is confidential or could be identifying or exposing of a service user in any way (including material which only they themselves would recognise) unless their full informed consent has been sought and provided
c) Not posting material on social media which is exposing of colleagues or services they work with, without consent
d) Be careful with your privacy online and be thoughtful about any personal information you choose to share. What you publish is widely accessible and will be around for a long time, so do consider the content carefully
e) Practice high standards of personal conduct, observing basic manners and respect for different viewpoints. Stay aware of power differentials (especially if engaging with people identifying themselves as service users or experts by experience), and be ready to explain or apologise if they have been misunderstood or caused offence
f) Ensure your profile and related content is consistent with how you wish to present yourself to the general public and colleagues. Act with honesty and integrity aiming to maintain the public’s confidence in them, their profession, or ACAT
g) Consider developing a digital/social media policy which is shared with patients, clients and service users. This can help to make digital boundaries clear and understandable for all parties, and should be discussed as part of the therapy contract
h) Understand the privacy settings and related boundaries for the social media platforms you use, to prevent those platforms making contact with your service users who use them too
i) We encourage members to share tweets and posts issued from the ACAT social media accounts. When online in a personal capacity, you might also see opportunities to comment on or support ACAT and the work we do. Where appropriate and using this guidance, we encourage members to do this as it provides a human voice and raises ACAT's profile. However, if the content is controversial or misrepresented, we ask members to highlight this to the Administration Manager and/or Liaison Trustee, who will respond as appropriate (email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org). j) If you are contacted by the press about your social media posts that relate to ACAT, you are encouraged to talk to the Trustee Liaison for social media before responding directly (email@example.com).
Further guidance is provided for members on the Catalyse website with links to many professional bodies' and regulators' social media policies about useful social media information – see https://catalyse.uk.com/about/get-involved/catalyse-on-twitter/resources-social-media/
For members interested in further information about using Twitter, follow this link to read articles from 2016 and 2017 newsletters, plus tips on using Twitter issued for the Joint International ACAT & ICATA Conference in September 2017 https://www.acat.me.uk/page/additionalinformationonusingtwitter
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