We are the regulator for the social service workforce in Scotland. Our work means the people of Scotland can count on social services being provided by a trusted, skilled and confident workforce.

We protect the public by registering social service workers, setting standards for their practice, conduct, training and education and by supporting their professional development. By doing this we increase the protection of people who use services. Where people fall below the standards of practice and conduct we can investigate and take action.


  • publish the national codes of practice for people working in social services and their employers
  • register people working in social services and make sure they adhere to the SSSC Codes of Practice 
  • promote and regulate the learning and development of the social service workforce 
  • are the national lead for workforce development and planning for social services in Scotland.

The social service workforce

There are over 203,200 people working in social services across Scotland. This workforce includes social care workers, social workers, social work students and early years workers. They work across a range of care services, in residential and day centres, community facilities and in people’s homes. We are responsible for registering the workforce, making sure that they meet the standards set out in the SSSC Codes of Practice

Most people will come into contact with social services at some time in their lives. It might be you or a family member that uses a care service, such as your child going to nursery or parent living in a care home. You’ll know how important a quality care service can be.

Click on the links below to find out more about what we do.

Fitness to practise


Workforce development

Workforce data

Our Strategic Plan 2017-2020

Our Corporate Parenting Plan 2017-2019

Directorate plans

Development and Innovation Plan 2018-2019

Regulation Plan 2018-19

Strategy and Performance Plan 2018-19

Skills for Care and Development (SfC&D) is the sector skills council (SSC) for people providing social work, social care and children’s services in the UK. Their ambition is:

“for a world-class workforce; one that fosters economic growth and sustainable communities across the UK. This will be reached through progressive high impact social work, social care and services for children.”

Our SSC is a partnership of four organisations:

  • Social Care Wales
  • Northern Ireland Social Care Council
  • Skills for Care in England
  • Scottish Social Services Council.

The SSSC undertakes the functions of the SSC in Scotland. We work in partnership with employers in Scotland to develop the social service workforce and invest in workforce planning.

Our work

Our work as a sector skills council includes:

National Occupational Standards - we develop national occupational standards which underpin qualifications for registration with partners from SfC&D. These standards outline the skills, knowledge and understanding that employers have told us are necessary for an effective workforce.

Funding - we also receive occasional funding for projects that will help to support our employers and their workforce. With the funding we have received we have:

  • developed a career guidance tool A question of care which is used across the UK care sector
  • rolled out the use of mobile technology which allows employers to do specific on the job training of staff in specific skills such as safe administration of medication and funding to develop a system of Care Ambassadors across Scotland.

The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) has responsibility for monitoring the performance of each SSC. The UKCES provided the UK partnership with initial funding to develop skills in the use of assistive technology in the workforce although this work is at an early stage.

Skills for Care and Development infographic

Our history

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) was created under the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001 by the then Scottish Executive to protect people who use services, raise standards of practice and strengthen and support the professionalism of the workforce. The Act sets out principles, this includes that we will:

  • promote high standards of conduct and practice among social service workers and their education and training
  • maintain a register of social workers, social services workers and social work students
  • remove people from the SSSC Register
  • create and promote the SSSC Codes of Practice
  • approve courses for people who wish to become social workers
  • provide grants and allowances for social service workers’ training.

The arrival of the SSSC follows years of campaigning by many in social services for a body that would raise the status of thousands of committed social service workers and put them on an equal footing with other regulated professionals.

One of our first requirements was to produce the SSSC Codes of Practice for Social Service Workers and Employers We did this in partnership with our relevant partners in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The SSSC Codes of Practice sets out the standards social service workers and their employers should meet.

We opened the SSSC Register of Social Service Workers (Register) on 1 April 2003, with social workers being the first group of workers to register. Since then the Register has grown to include:

  • social work students
  • Care Inspectorate officers
  • workers in residential child care services
  • managers in adult day care services
  • workers in care home services for adults
  • workers in day care of children services
  • workers in school hostels, residential special schools and independent boarding schools
  • workers in housing support services
  • workers in care at home services.

In 2014, we had over 60,000 workers on our Register.