Legal and Ethical Issues – Accountability

Assessment Number1
Assessment Type (and weighting)Written Essay – (50%)
Assessment NameLegal and Ethical Issues – Accountability
Assessment Submission Date27/04/20

Learning Outcomes Assessed

LO2: Investigate local and professionally prescribed codes of ethical conduct

LO3: Appreciate the importance of professional accountability in care settings

LO5: Appreciate the importance of accurate record keeping

Essay Brief:

Accountability is a fundamental part of health and social care practice. To demonstrate your understanding of legal and ethical issues in health and social care settings you are required to write an essay of 1,750 words on Accountability. You will be required to produce a plan of your essay to discuss at your tutorial.

Your essay will be expected to address the following:

  • Defining Accountability in relation to health and social care practitioners.
  • To discuss the different areas that health and social care workers are accountable for within care settings. This may include:
  • Self
  • Patients/Public
  • Employer
  • Professional Regulators
  • Discuss the importance of accurate record keeping

This essay should be in a standard essay format and fully referenced throughout using the Harvard System. Please ensure confidentiality is adhered to throughout.

This assignment provides 50% of your overall mark for this module

Learning Outcomes and Assessments

Learning Outcomes

LO2: Investigate local and professionally prescribed codes of ethical conductAssessment 1: Written Essay
LO3: Appreciate the importance of professional accountability in care settingsAssessment 1: Written Essay
LO5: Appreciate the importance of accurate record keepingAssessment 1: Written Essay

Essay Plan

Begin with a broad and relevant statement about accountability. Move on to make three or four more focussed statements that relate to the content of the essay. This could be about the pillars of accountability, professional codes of conduct, good practice (confidentiality, consent, record-keeping, delegation), poor practice (acts and omissions), links to ethical principles and law. Finish your introduction with a ‘thesis statement’ and clearly state what the essay will do.
Topic 1: LO1 & 3
Define accountability as you understand it Explore some definitions of accountability and what they mean Link these to some codes of conduct Relate this to health and social care
Topic 2: LO1 & 3
The Pillars of Accountability & Spheres of Accountability Self: personal moral codes, links to ‘virtue ethics’, could bring in delegation Patient/public: criminal law and courts, civil law and courts Employer: contracts of employment, employment tribunals Professional Regulators: codes of conduct
Topic 3: LO5
Good practice Confidentiality: GDPR & DPA 2018 Consent: MCA 2004 Record-keeping: Legality, importance, GDPR & DPA 2018 Links to Ethical Principles (Autonomy, Non-Maleficence, Beneficence, Justice)
Topic 4: LO2, 3 & 5
Bad practice Failure to act or omission Accountability to the law Regulators Delegation Bring in ethical theories and/or principles
State what the essay did Make some broad points about accountability, codes of conduct, good and bad practice Make a broad statement on the importance of accountability for health and social care work


Suggested for student purchase 

Cuthbert, S. and Quallington, J. (2017a) Values and ethics for care practice. Banbury: Lantern

Seedhouse, D. (2007) Ethics: the heart of health care. Third edition. Chichester: John Wiley


Caulfield, H. (2005a) Accountability. Oxford: Blackwell

Dimond, B., Griffith, R. and Dowie, I. (2019a) Dimond’s legal aspects of nursing; a definitive guide to law for nurses. Eighth edition. Upper Saddle River: Pearson

Griffith, R. and Tengnah, C. (2020) Law and professional issues in nursing. Fifth edition. Los Angeles: Learning Matters.

James F. Childress and Beauchamp, T. L. (2019) Principles of biomedical ethics. 8th edition

Tilley, S. and Watson, R. (2004b) Accountability in nursing and midwifery. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell Science.


Brotherton, G. and Parker, S. (2013) Your foundation in health & social care. (2ndEd). Los Angeles: SAGE

Edwards, D. and Best, S. eds. (2020) The textbook of health and social care. London: Sage

Kushner, T. and Thomasma, D. C. (2001) Ward ethics: dilemmas for medical students and doctors in training. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Peate, I. (2017) Fundamentals of Care: a textbook for health and social care assistants. Chichester, England: Wiley Blackwell.


HCPC – Health and Care Professions Council – Standards of conduct, performance and

ethics (no date). Available at:

The Nursing and Midwifery Council | Nursing and Midwifery Council (no date). Available at:



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