Every one of those individuals is part of a professional workforce who uphold the values and behaviours in the SSSC Codes of Practice meaning people using services can rely on care from a trusted, skilled and confident workforce.
Registration means social work, social care and early years staff are fit to practise and belong to a workforce with clear standards and qualification requirements.
Our Chief Executive Lorraine Gray, who has worked in various roles at the SSSC for almost 20 years herself, tells us how marking the anniversary helps recognise the value of the workforce.
Here we share some of the highlights of our 20 year journey from our inception to where we are today.
Read the stories from key partners, workers and SSSC staff on what registration means to them, their organisations and the people they support.
Join in the 20 year celebrations. Our toolkit has lots of ideas for joining in and marking your registration journey.
The Scottish Social Services Council was established in October 2001 following the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001.
Our first office was in James Craig Walk in Edinburgh. The office was originally the offices of the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work (CCETSW).
In 2001 CCETSW was abolished and the SSSC replaced them as the regulator for social care workers in Scotland.
We started our journey with only ten members of staff.
In March 2002 we opened our new headquarters at Compass House in Dundee. The new office was shared with the Care Inspectorate, known then as the Care Commission.
September 2002 saw the launch of our first Codes of Practice for Social Service Workers and Employers (the Codes). The Codes were developed after an extensive consultation with people working in the sector, their employers, people who use social services and their carers and set out the behaviours and values expected of social service workers and their employers.
In April 2003, our Register opened for the first time. The first group to register were social workers and the first person was registered on 6 June 2003 - they are still registered today. The first Director of Social Work to register was Alan Baird who is now a member of our Council.
The Framework for Social Work Education in Scotland was first published in January 2003. The Framework is made up of the Scottish Requirements for Social Work Training, an Introduction to the Standards in Social Work Education and the Standards in Social Work Education.
The SSSC Care Accolades ran from 2004 to 2014, with a total of 11 award ceremonies to celebrate and promote good practice in workforce development in social services across Scotland. There were many categories over the 10 years including working better, working together, involving local communities, children and young people and outstanding contribution to care.
We also launched Workforce Solutions, our digital learning website, which later became the SSSC Learning Zone with free learning resources and apps.
The Register opened to the next group, social work students and Care Inspectorate inspectors, known then as Care Commission officers.
On 1 September 2005 we reached a Register milestone with the first deadline for compulsory registration for social workers.
In October 2005 we opened the Register to managers and supervisors in residential childcare services.
The registration qualification for housing support and care at home workers was also set in 2005 following a consultation and advisory groups.
In 2006 we held our first hearings. The first Registration Sub Committee (RSC) hearing was in January and the first Conduct Sub Committee (CSC) hearing in September.
The Register opened to all residential childcare workers, managers of adult day care services, managers of care home services for adults and managers of day care of children services.
In 2007, the SSSC developed and published the Standard for Childhood Practice. This is the subject benchmark standard used in higher education and defines the professional knowledge and understanding, values and commitments and professional skills and abilities necessary for managers in early years and childcare services.
2007 also saw the Register open to two more groups of workers. Practitioners in day care of children services in March and supervisors in care home services for adults in the October.
By April 2009 we had reached 100 members of staff. Lots of whom were dealing with registration and by September 2006 we reached the compulsory registration deadline for residential childcare workers, managers of care home services for adults and adult day care services. The deadline coming just two months before the Register was open again, this time to all managers of residential childcare accommodation.
Our 2010 conference was held in February 2010 at the SECC in Glasgow. The conference 20:20 vision – the social service workforce fit for the future explored workforce development and planning, registration, and leadership for the sector.
In November 2010 we reached another compulsory registration date, this time for managers and lead practitioners in day care of children services.
In 2011, we developed and published Scotland’s first national dementia workforce development framework Promoting Excellence: a framework for all health and social services staff working with people with dementia, their families and carers in partnership with NHS Education for Scotland (NES).
The growing Register opened again in January 2011, to managers of care at home and housing support services.
By June 2012, we had 50,000 people on the Register and employed 150 staff. The launch of Step into Leadership website was welcomed by the sector as a new platform for people working in social services to find tools and resources to develop their leadership skills.
We launched the Dementia Ambassadors network to help promote dementia learning across services and support them to use relevant resources and the Promoting Excellence framework to help and facilitate the learning of others. Our Dementia Ambassadors network is still in place today and continues to support people caring for some of Scotland’s most vulnerable people.
In March 2013 we first launched our new online portal for registered workers, MySSSC. The interactive portal allowed registered workers and employers to apply and manage their registration online.
But MySSSC wasn’t our only new digital asset in 2013 as we launched our first Workforce data website in November 2013. As an Official Statistics and National Statistics provider our workforce data website allows users to explore all workforce data, information and intelligence relating to the social service workforce in Scotland.
Following the success of the Dementia Ambassadors network the year before, we launched another ambassador network, this time for Careers in Care. The Careers in Care Ambassador network promotes career opportunities in social work, social care and early years and continues to be a success. It really is #LifeChangingWork
In March 2013, we reached another compulsory registration date, this time for supervisors in residential school care accommodation and practitioners in care home services for adults.
The growing Register opened again in June 2014. This time for supervisors in housing support and care at home workers.
In the same year the Register closed to three other groups, support workers in day care of children services and managers in care at home and housing support services as we reached their compulsory registration date.
In 2015, we held the highest number of conduct hearings since the Register opened in 2003, holding 407 hearings. Seventy-two people were removed from the Register and 226 received warnings or conditions on their registration.
In September 2015 we reached another compulsory registration date, this time for support workers in care home services for adults.
We were also proud to become a Corporate Parent in 2015. This change came following the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014. The Act defines corporate parenting as ‘the formal and local partnerships between all services responsible for working together to meet the needs of looked after children, young people and care leavers’.
In April 2016 we launched Open Badges allowing anyone working in social care to apply for these digital certificates that recognise learning and achievement. We now have 560 Open Badges available on our dedicated website.
We also launched our revised Codes of Practice and moved from a conduct model to fitness to practise model of regulation. Both changes followed extensive consultation with a wide range of stakeholders and were welcomed by the sector.
By 2017 we had reached 100,000 people on the Register. We opened the Register to the final groups of workers, care at home and housing support in October 2017 just months after compulsory registration for supervisors in the same settings.
In 2018, Lorraine Gray was appointed Chief Executive. Lorraine has been with the SSSC since the start in 2001 and has held various roles during that time working in communications and policy. Lorraine has watched the organisation grow from just 10 members of staff and in 2018 when she was appointed Chief Executive, we reached 300 members of staff.
We published our What can you expect from your care worker? leaflet to let people know what type of behaviour and values they can expect from their care worker and what to do if they have a concern. The leaflets were available in all GP surgeries in Scotland.
We published Raising concerns in the workplace guidance for employers, social service workers and social work students. The guidance was published in partnership with the Care Inspectorate.
We launched our #SSSCregistered campaign and held registrant roadshows across Scotland to help build our relationship with registered workers. It was an opportunity for us to share our work in registration, fitness to practise and development and innovation and for registered workers to influence and inform the direction of our work.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the vital work our social service workforce do as they were recognised as key workers, supporting some of the most vulnerable people in Scotland during an extremely challenging time.
We celebrated their values, compassion, commitment and professionalism by sharing their stories of inspiring care.
On 30 September 2020 we reached the deadline for compulsory registration for the final group, support workers in care at home and housing support. At the time of closing the Register we had 166,282 people on the Register working in a range of roles in social work, social care and early years services.
In November 2020, we launched a new app, MyLearning, to help social service workers record and reflect on the learning they do every day and support their continuous professional learning (CPL).
In January 2021, we published Realising potential, our plan for putting care experienced people at the heart of what we do. The plan enforces our commitment to our role as a corporate parent.
On 1 July 2021, our fitness to practise hearings process changed to opt in hearings, meaning we now only hold a hearing if a worker disagrees with the outcome of our investigation and asks for one. Since our first hearings back in 2006 we have now held 2,986 hearings.
August 2021 saw the launch of the Newly Qualified Social Worker Supported Year website. The website provides information for all newly qualified social workers (NQSW), their employers, managers and supervisors, supporting consistency for their first year of practice including information about current requirements and the work we are doing to support them in their future careers.