Personal preferences around receiving personal support from the opposite sex.

Kaye Elderton 18/08/17 Dignity Champions forum

Is anyone aware of any guidance within England and Wales that says the male members must not provide personal support to female customers, even if the customer has capacity to make the decision that they have no preference.
The male member of staff may be the 2nd person supporting and not physically undertaking tasks?
Many Thanks in advance.

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mike stone 19/08/17

Hi Kaye,

I don't know the answer to your question: my guess would be that 'customers with capacity can decide for themselves' is the legal position, if we set aside guidance around protection of the staff [from possible complaints].

But there probably is guidance about this out there - I suspect it might be 'somewhat conflicted' guidance - and someone on this forum might well be able to point you at it,

Best wishes, Mike

PS I'll tweet your question.

mike stone 19/08/17

I've just Tweeted Kaye's question at

If I get any answers, I'll copy them over to here as well.

Liz Taylor 12/09/17

Hi Kaye

I don't think there is any actual guidance, rather it exists in the policies and procedures of each organisation. My own experience is that where a customer has expressed a desire not to receive care from the opposite sex, especially female customers and male carers, is that should be respected wherever possible. [Regardless of whether the customer has capacity or not]. However I think it also depends on the level of intimacy involved. For example the situation may be very different for someone receiving support with dressing, and someone receiving support with intimate personal care.
I think the solution is often pragmatic depending on availability of staff and the level of support required, as well as personal preference.