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11 Mar 2024

Social service workforce Your learning

A new approach for continuous professional learning (CPL)

We’re introducing new continuous professional learning (CPL) requirements for registrants with a focus on key skills and knowledge. We developed the requirements in consultation with registrants, employers and other key stakeholders. We'll introduce the new requirements on 3 June 2024. 

What’s different? 

The new CPL requirements include: 

  • an annual declaration that you’ve completed your CPL
  • moving away from recording hours and days to focus on key skills and knowledge required at different career stages, for example, induction, change of role, return to practice
  • mandatory skills and knowledge requirements on trauma awareness and adult and child protection for all registrants
  • mandatory learning for people moving across the Register from adults to children services and vice versa, to support flexibility of qualifications for registration
  • new requirements for newly qualified social workers (NQSW) and how their CPL is endorsed by employers
  • flexibility for the SSSC to revise CPL requirements to respond to emerging skills gaps.

Learning to suit your needs 

The new CPL requirements are set out for different groups and each will have learning based on their individual needs: 

  • social workers (including NQSW) 
  • social care workforce 
  • children and young people workforce 
  • Care Inspectorate authorised officers.  


The new CPL requirements have eight pathways, which help to personalise the learning registrants will do based on their career stage. The eight pathways are: 

  • I am new to my role 
  • I want to return to practice after a career break 
  • I want to complete a professional qualification 
  • I want to keep my practice up to date 
  • I want to specialise 
  • I want to change jobs 
  • I want to retire 
  • I want to take a career break. 

Core learning elements 

Registrants will choose the pathway most suitable for them to see the core learning elements they should cover to meet their CPL requirements.  

For the social care and children and young people workforces there are seven core learning elements: 

  • rights based and ethical practice 
  • communication and relationships 
  • wellbeing and support 
  • protection
  • knowledge for your role 
  • reflective practice 
  • leadership and quality assurance. 

Social workers and Care Inspectors 

Social workers and Care Inspectorate authorised officers have eight core learning elements that incorporate those for the wider workforce but reflect the range of clear and reserved functions they are accountable for. 

The eight core learning elements for social workers and Care Inspectorate authorised officers are: 

  • ethics, values and rights-based practice  
  • communication, engagement and relationship-based professional practice 
  • critical thinking, professional judgement and decision making 
  • promoting wellbeing, support and protection 
  • working with complexity in unpredictable and ambiguous contexts 
  • use of knowledge, research and evidence in practice 
  • self-awareness and reflexivity 
  • professional leadership. 

New CPL website 

We are developing a new CPL website to help registrants find relevant learning opportunities to meet their core learning elements. We’ll provide suggestions of learning for all pathways although learning to meet the CPL requirement is entirely flexible and employers can specify their own organisational training.  

Contact information

Nichola Stark
Digital Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Scottish Social Services Council