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30 Sep 2020

Social service workforce SSSC corporate

Milestone reached for social service workforce

When the Regulation of Care Act set a vision for a regulated, qualified and professional social service workforce one of the first members of staff at the new Scottish Social Services Council was Lorraine Gray. Nearly 20 years later, and now Chief Executive, she reflects on the remarkable journey.

The vision of the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001 was to help protect the public by having regulated, qualified and safe staff, all working to Codes of Practice which set the behaviours and values expected.

It meant social service workers in a wide range of roles; from social workers to day care of children workers and care home workers to residential childcare workers; had to register with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).
SSSC registration requires workers to hold, or be working towards, a relevant qualification for their role and work to the SSSC Codes of Practice.

When we first embarked on the registration journey we were starting from scratch. Social workers were the first group that had to register with us by 2005. They already had to be qualified but for other sectors we had to establish a framework of acceptable qualifications for registration and a suitably qualified, skilled and professional workforce.

In the first few years we spent a lot of time meeting employers and travelling round the country explaining the importance of regulation and the qualifications needed. It was totally new for everyone, so we had a lot of work to do.

To be on our Register workers need to be working in a relevant role, apart from social workers and social work students, meaning the emphasis is on practice and work-based learning to make sure workers can deliver high quality care.

Gradually we opened the Register to different groups at different times so we could manage the process efficiently. We’ve been registering thousands of people in each phase, so it would’ve been impossible to open to everyone at the same time, especially when we started with less than 10 members of staff.

A sign of how far we’ve come is when we opened the Register to housing support and care at home support workers. They were keen to join and be part of a bigger professional workforce and we’ve registered nearly 62,000 workers before the deadline.

Although we’ve reached the milestone of the last group of workers registering, we still have lots of work to do, making sure workers gain their qualifications and supporting the workforce through our learning and development and workforce planning activity.

We’re looking forward to continuing to build our relationship with registered workers and doing everything we can to support them in their role.

A trusted, skilled and confident workforce

  • The last group of workers the SSSC Register opened to was support workers in care at home and housing support in October 2017. Some 61,920* of them were registered by the deadline of 30 September 2020.
  • There are 166,282* people on the SSSC Register working in a range of roles.
  • This represents 80% of the total social service workforce in Scotland, as not all roles require to register, for example directly employed personal assistants.

*Numbers on 28 September 2020.

Contact information

Lorraine Wakefield
Communications Manager
Scottish Social Services Council