The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) is the regulator for the social service workforce in Scotland. Our work means the people of Scotland can count on social services being provided by a trusted, skilled and confident workforce. We protect the public by registering social service workers, setting standards for their practice, conduct, training and education and by supporting their professional development. Where people fall below the standards of practice and conduct we can investigate and take action.

One of our responsibilities is to protect people who use services and their carers by registering and regulating key groups of social service workers. Our Fitness to Practise team investigates concerns about social service workers who have applied for registration or workers who are already registered with us.

When a social service worker applies to register with the SSSC they must agree to abide by the SSSC Codes of Practice. The codes set out clear standards workers must work to and lets people who use services know what they can expect from their workers. Concerns can include if there are disciplinary issues or an individual raises a concern about a worker.

The vast majority of social service workers follow the conduct and practices set out in the SSSC Code of Practice and consistently meet the high standards expected by the public. However, we can take action against registered workers who do not meet the standards expected of them.

Visit Fitness to Practise to find out more.

The SSSC Register was set up under the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001 to regulate social service workers and to promote their education and training.

Registration is a major part of the drive for higher standards in social services and is bringing the social service workforce in line with other professional colleagues. Nursing, medicine and teaching are all regulated professions and workers have to register with their own regulatory bodies to be able to work in their field. Social service workers have to do the same.

Registration of social service workers has an important role in improving safeguards for people using services and increasing public confidence in the social service workforce.

Visit Registration to find out more.

Most people are aware of our role as a regulator, making sure key groups of workers are registered and taking action where necessary. But our role also involves:

  • regulating the training and education of the social service workforce
  • promoting the difference education and training makes to workers and people who use services
  • undertaking the functions of the Sector Skills Council; Skills for Care and Development, this includes workforce planning and development.

We are working with our partners, employers and workers to build capacity and capability so we have the workforce needed for the future. A workforce that is suitable to meet the many challenges facing social services. Developing a safe and skilled workforce relies both on our regulatory work and our development work. It is not enough to remove people from the SSSC Register we must make sure that those who are on the Register continue to develop their skills.

Visit Our current work in the workforce development section to find out more.

Partnership working

We often carry out our work in support of developing the workforce in partnership with other organisations, key stakeholders and providers. In partnership with NHS Education for Scotland (NES) and the Joint Improvement Team (JIT) we are:

  • developing workforce skills
  • developing knowledge and capability
  • developing effective workforce development for self-directed support
  • ensuring health and social care integration promotes collaborative, reflective and general learning.

These close working partnerships mean we are well prepared for the Scottish Government’s plan to bring social services and health services together. Visit our Health and social care integration page to find out more about integration.

Skills for Care and Development (SfC&D) is the sector skills council (SSC) for people providing social work, social care and children’s services in the UK. Their ambition is:

“for a world-class workforce; one that fosters economic growth and sustainable communities across the UK. This will be reached through progressive high impact social work, social care and services for children.”

Our SSC is a partnership of four organisations:

  • Care Council for Wales
  • Northern Ireland Social Care Council
  • Skills for Care in England
  • Scottish Social Services Council.

The SSSC undertakes the functions of the SSC in Scotland. We work in partnership with employers in Scotland to develop the social service workforce and invest in workforce planning.

Our work

Our work as a sector skills council includes:

National Occupational Standards - we develop national occupational standards which underpin qualifications for registration with partners from SfC&D. These standards outline the skills, knowledge and understanding that employers have told us are necessary for an effective workforce.

Funding - we also receive occasional funding for projects that will help to support our employers and their workforce. With the funding we have received we have:

  • developed a career guidance tool A question of care which is used across the UK care sector
  • rolled out the use of mobile technology which allows employers to do specific on the job training of staff in specific skills such as safe administration of medication and funding to develop a system of Care Ambassadors across Scotland.

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) has responsibility for monitoring the performance of each SSC. The UKCES provided the UK partnership with initial funding to develop skills in the use of assistive technology in the workforce although this work is at an early stage.

Skills for Care and Development infographic

Workforce data

The Scottish Parliament approved the SSSC as an Official Statistics provider in 2012. We publish data about social service workers in Scotland.

You can visit our Scottish Social Service Workforce Data website to use a wide range of tools, visualisations and datasets to help you to use the data to plan your workforce for the future.

Some key facts from our 2015 Workforce Data report:

  • The size of the workforce has increased to 203,200 people, an increase of 1.8%. This makes the workforce the largest it has been since these reports began in 2008 and approximately 7.8% of Scottish employment.
  • The three largest sub-sectors are housing support/care at home, care homes for adults and day care of children; together, these sectors account for almost 77% of the workforce.
  • The percentage of men working in the sector remains at 15%, although it is more than double in criminal justice and residential children’s services.