This domain is about maintaining adequate knowledge and skills to deliver a good service and, in some cases, developing knowledge and skills in order to provide guidance at a higher tier. This may mean keeping up to date on financial matters, for example, updates to legislation and regulations and key organisations which is important for ensuring that practitioners are giving accurate and up to date information, and for knowing where to signpost customers. In addition, it may involve self-reflection, gaining knowledge or improving skills. Practitioners may develop their practice using either formal and/or informal methods.
Self-management, supported by emotional self-awareness, enables practitioners to regulate their own behaviour, even when provoked. This quality sees practitioners recognising the limits of their authority and knowing the actions to be taken when that limit is reached. They should be tenacious and resilient in the face of difficulty and be able to cope with an increasingly complex environment – with the blurring of organisational boundaries and the requirement to work in partnership with other organisations (e.g. when making or taking referrals). The practitioner should take appropriate time for reflection and also seek out appropriate personal support when needed, for example when/after dealing with complex or traumatic cases.
Practitioners should be capable of accepting feedback/criticism in a positive manner and assessing its validity and importance. They should seek to evaluate their own performance, either against set targets and goals, or by reflecting on their own work and actions. Setting and prioritising clear and realistic goals and targets for own development and using a range of valid and reliable evidence to assess own work, which includes an assessment of the effects of own behaviour and values on others, is a critical part of practitioners’ improving practice/continuing professional development.
Practitioners must keep up to date with legislation, codes of practice and guidelines, understanding the importance of complying with national, local, professional and organisational requirements. It is imperative that practitioners maintain an understanding of the limitations of their role, their own limits and those of the service. Finally, they must maintain the required soft skills necessary to deal with customers e.g. effective communication skills.