Self-regulation of social services

Every provider of social services is primarily responsible for the quality of their operations. Service providers must ensure that the services are sufficient and that their quality is high enough by means of self-regulation. Service providers must implement self-regulation, meaning that they need to plan and review their activities regularly with the help of feedback collected from clients and the personnel, among other things.

Self-regulation means systematic quality management carried out by the service providers themselves. In health care and social services in particular, the service providers’ own responsibility on ensuring the appropriateness of their operations, the quality of the services they provide as well as client and patient safety. Many acts also contain provisions on self-regulation.

The service provider must draw up a plan for promoting:

  • client safety
  • service quality
  • good treatment of clients
  • clients’ right of self-determination.

The service provider must ensure that the operations comply with legislation, licence conditions and the quality standards which the service provider has set for its activities.

Self-regulation must be part of daily work and involve all staff members.

As in other sectors, there are risks involved in the provision of healthcare and social services. Self-regulation is based on identifying risks to client safety and safe practices in your operations.

A unit, such as a nursing home, must have a written plan that can be used to identify shortcomings in client services and situations that may cause a risk. It is easier to prevent and correct risks once they have been identified. The aim is to prevent the risks from materialising and to respond systematically and rapidly to stages of work that have been identified as critical and to development needs.

A self-regulation plan refers to the description of procedures designed to ensure and improve the quality and client safety of services and the documents used in it.

The self-regulation plan must include the following information:

  • how the unit ensures that the service is implemented with high quality and customer safety
  • how does the unit act when a service is not realised in accordance with the objectives set for it
  • how does the unit act when customer safety is at risk
  • what are the values, mission statement and operating principles of the unit
  • how are the rights and status of customers safeguarded
  • how is the good nutrition, well-being and rehabilitation of customers supported
  • how is the customers’ health care and medical treatment of high quality arranged?
  • Draw up the self-regulation plan in writing.
  • If you are a new service provider, draw up the self-regulation plan within six months from the start of operations of a new unit.
  • The unit’s management and employees draw up the self-regulation plan together.
  • Monitor the implementation of the plan and develop your services on the basis of feedback collected regularly from your clients, their families and the unit’s staff.
  • Keep the self-regulation plan available at the unit in a public place so that clients, relatives and those interested in the unit’s self-regulation can read it without requesting it.

Links to legal texts

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