Angus Council social work services - Duty of Candour Report 2019/20


The organisational duty of candour provisions of the Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc. and Care) (Scotland) Act 2016 (The Act) and The Duty of Candour Procedure (Scotland) Regulations 2018 set out the procedure that organisations providing health services, care services and social work services in Scotland are required by law to follow when there has been an unintended or unexpected incident that results in death or harm (or additional treatment is required to prevent injury that would result in death or harm).

Social work services in Angus have a duty of candour. This is a legal requirement which means that when things go wrong and mistakes happen, the people affected understand what has happened, receive an apology, and social work services in Angus learn from mistakes and where necessary make improvements for the future.

An important part of this duty is to provide an annual report about any duty of candour incidents in our services. This short report details between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020 social work services in Angus had no reported incidents under the duty of candour categories noted below. 

Incidents to which the duty of candour applies

Type of unexpected or unintended incident

Number of times this happened

Someone has died


Someone has permanently less bodily, sensory, motor, physiologic or intellectual functions



Someone’s treatment has increased because of harm


The structure of someone’s body changes because of harm


Someone’s life expectancy becomes shorter because of harm


Someone’s sensory, motor or intellectual functions is impaired for 28 days or more



Someone experienced pain or psychological harm for 28 days or more



A person needed health treatment in order to prevent them dying


A person needing health treatment in order to prevent other injuries



Information about our policies and procedures

Where something has happened that triggers the duty of candour, our staff manage and report this in line with Duty of Candour operational instruction. This instruction applies to all health, care and social work staff and details what action staff must take and how staff must react in accordance with our duty to be open, honest and supportive when there is an unexplained or unintended incident resulting in death or harm.

Staff are responsibility for ensuring that the duty of candour procedure is followed. The manager records the incidents, informs senior management and reports the incident as appropriate to the Care Inspectorate. When an incident has occurred, the manager and staff review the incident and report findings to the senior management team. This allows for independent review of what happened and identify any changes required or learning for the future.

We know that serious mistakes can be distressing for staff as well as people who use care services and their families. We have counselling support in place for our staff if they have been affected by a duty of candour incident.

What has changed as a result?

We continue to make changes to our policies and procedures as a result of duty of candour, learning from mistakes, complaints and feedback from those who use social work services. An example is:

In response to the outcome of a care home complaint, it has been agreed with care home providers that the results of large scale Investigations will be shared with residents and their Guardians. While this did not directly relate to a duty of candour incident it evidences, we continue to use all learning to improve our services. 

Other information

This is the second year of the duty of candour being in operation the process of reporting continues to keep our focus on the people who use care services they have the right to know when things go badly wrong, as well as when they go well.

As required, we will submit this report to the Care Inspectorate but in the spirit of openness we will place on Angus Council website.

If you would like more information about this report, please contact Kathryn Lindsay, Director Children Families and Justice, Chief Social Worker Officer at