Our vision

Our work means the people of Scotland can count on social services being provided by a trusted, skilled and confident workforce.


We will achieve this by working towards the following outcomes:

  • there is a safe, skilled, confident and flexible social service workforce with the appropriate values, knowledge, skills and qualifications for current and future sector needs
  • the SSSC is influential in policy making and the social services sector
  • the social service workforce is valued
  • qualifications for social service workers are fit for purpose
  • the right people are on the SSSC Register
  • the SSSC’s resources, products and activities support the development of the workforce and increase its capacity and capability
  • the SSSC is recognised as a well-run, well governed and effective organisation. 

Our values

Our work is based on and driven by our values:

  • integrity
  • commitment
  • accountability
  • pride in what we do
  • listening and engaging
  • learning and creativity.

Our role

We are 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.


  • publish the national codes of practice for people working in social services and their employers
  • register people working in social services and make sure they adhere to the SSSC Codes of Practice 
  • promote and regulate the learning and development of the social service workforce 
  • are the national lead for workforce development and planning for social services in Scotland.

The social service workforce

Our role is to raise standards of practice, strengthen and support social service workers and increase the protection of people who use services. This includes developing a confident and competent social service workforce.

There are over 203,200 people working in social services across Scotland. This workforce includes social care workers, social workers, social work students and early years workers. They work across a range of care services, in residential and day centres, community facilities and in people’s homes. We are responsible for registering the workforce, making sure that they meet the standards set out in the SSSC Codes of Practice

Most people will come into contact with social services at some time in their lives. It might be you or a family member that uses a care service, such as your child going to nursery or parent living in a care home. You’ll know how important a quality care service can be.

Our history

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) was created under the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001 by the then Scottish Executive to protect people who use services, raise standards of practice and strengthen and support the professionalism of the workforce. The Act sets out principles, this includes that we will:

  • promote high standards of conduct and practice among social service workers and their education and training
  • maintain a register of social workers, social services workers and social work students
  • remove people from the SSSC Register
  • create and promote the SSSC Codes of Practice
  • approve courses for people who wish to become social workers
  • provide grants and allowances for social service workers’ training.

The arrival of the SSSC follows years of campaigning by many in social services for a body that would raise the status of thousands of committed social service workers and put them on an equal footing with other regulated professionals.

One of our first requirements was to produce the SSSC Codes of Practice for Social Service Workers and Employers We did this in partnership with our relevant partners in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The SSSC Codes of Practice sets out the standards social service workers and their employers should meet.

We opened the SSSC Register of Social Service Workers (Register) on 1 April 2003, with social workers being the first group of workers to register. Since then the Register has grown to include:

  • social work students
  • Care Inspectorate officers
  • workers in residential child care services
  • managers in adult day care services
  • workers in care home services for adults
  • workers in day care of children services
  • workers in school hostels, residential special schools and independent boarding schools
  • workers in housing support services
  • workers in care at home services.

In 2014, we had over 60,000 workers on our Register.