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28 Mar 2022

Professional standards

Changes to what you need to tell us when making a referral

We have changed our fitness to practise thresholds to make it clearer when raising concerns about a worker.

What are thresholds and why have we changed them?

Our thresholds set out the types of things which may affect a worker’s fitness to practise and which we will investigate. We review our thresholds regularly using the information we gather from fitness to practise case outcomes and the relevant case law.

Since our last review, over three years ago, we have found only 10 per cent of referrals resulted in a sanction on the worker’s registration.


We used stakeholder feedback to inform changes and improvements to the thresholds guidance, policy and our processes. You can see the stakeholders we worked with below.

The change to fitness to practise thresholds will help reduce the number of unnecessary referrals employers submit as well as the number of referrals we receive, which will allow us to focus our resources more effectively. It will also minimise the impact of fitness to practise investigations on workers, witnesses and complainants.

You can read the updated thresholds policy here.

You can read the updated referral guidance for employers, higher education institutions (HEIs) and members of the public here.

New employer advice line

We launched our new employer advice line on 28 March 2022 to provide specialist support and advice to employers and higher education institutions (HEIs) about our fitness to practise processes.

We encourage employers and HEIs to use our new service to:

  • ask for advice about whether to refer a worker
  • ask for advice when to refer a worker
  • find out what information to provide as part of a referral
  • find out what other organisations/authorities you should contact if required.

You can also use it for general queries around our process, thresholds, or to request an engagement meeting.

You can email us at or phone 0345 60 30 891, selecting the option for employer advice line.   

Stakeholders we worked with

We engaged with and received feedback from employers, HEIs, members of parliament as well as national forums like CCPS, Scottish Care and the Society of Personnel and Development Scotland (SPDS) as well as other regulators and legal stakeholders.

Contact information

Sandra Wilson
Communications Officer
Scottish Social Services Council