In 2017, our Registration Department was anticipating one of the biggest challenges it has ever had.
More than 62,000 care at home and housing support staff needed help to get registered.
The way the department handled the project has been a huge success. Today, 85% of support workers in care at home and housing support are registered and most of those who aren’t already registered have started their applications.
Head of Registration Cheryl Campbell said putting in place an effective communications plan and liaising with employers has been key to the success.
The Register opened for support workers in care at home and housing support services on 2 October 2017 and since then, 55,801 workers have registered, 3,391 applications are being processed and 3,126 have started the process.
‘It’s been a huge undertaking,’ Cheryl said. 'We had ongoing communication with the sector to give them as much information and support as possible.
‘They appreciated that we recognised this wasn’t going to be an easy job for them and we were providing them with the tools to help.
‘Some people feared we were adding another barrier in an already struggling workforce where recruitment and retention is difficult.
‘But actually, that hasn’t happened. The communications plan helped us focus on what we were going to do at different stages.
‘We worked with key groups such as CCPS (Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland) in the voluntary sector and Scottish Care in the private sector.'
In August last year, we launched a series of new employers’ guides to help care at home and housing support workers applying for registration.
The new guides included a presentation outlining what our role is, what registration means, the Codes of Practice and how to start an application.
Also included was a ‘time to apply for registration’ leaflet so workers knew exactly what information they needed to start their application and a flowchart showing the process and timescales of the registration process.
Cheryl said the response from staff and their employers has been excellent: ‘One fear was that workers would wait until the last minute to be registered.
‘But at the very start, we only announced the date the Register was opening and we didn’t talk about the September 2020 deadline.
‘We were so surprised at how quickly people responded to that.’
Despite the success so far, Cheryl said there is still important work to be done within Registration.
‘The next stage is engagement,’ she said.
‘We need to help people understand their responsibilities as a registered worker, what registration means and the value of registration.
‘We need to speak to registered workers. For example, if people forget to pay their fee, we need to find out what happened and what we can do to prevent that from happening to others.’
Cheryl said other developments being considered are a Registration app and a digital pack for people joining the social service sector:
‘But first we need to explore if that’s something our registered workers want.’
Another key aim for the department is to future proof the Register. Cheryl added: ‘The Register currently has 23 different parts and that’s quite complicated.
‘Having worked with the Register for over 16 years, we can now see where things can be changed and improved.
‘For example, for most people, registration lasts five years. We want to see if we can remove that and have an ongoing registration period where registrants pay an annual fee along with a declaration. That way, registrants will be clearer about what is expected of them every year.
‘There’s lots of things we could do to make it simpler both from an internal perspective and for our external stakeholders. We have lots of ideas we’d like to take forward
‘We want a Register that doesn’t create obstacles for workers but supports the whole of the sector.’