The Health and Social Care Standards and Codes of Practice in Scotland

Regulatory bodies

The Care Inspectorate (formally known as Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland) has been set up as a single regulatory body in Scotland for social work and social care services, including child protection and the integration of children's services.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) regulates independent healthcare services. They carry out joint inspections in conjunction with The Care Inspectorate of health and social care services provided for older people through local authorities, local NHS boards and hospitals. The inspections also look at the role of independent and voluntary organisations in the community.

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) is the regulator for the social services workforce in Scotland. The SSSC registers social service workers, sets standards for their practice, conduct, training and education, and supports their professional development.

Codes of Practice and the Health and Social Care Standards

The Codes of Practice for Social Service Workers and Employers is a list of statements that describe the standards of professional conduct and practice required of social service workers as they go about their daily work. Revised Codes of Practice for Social Service Workers and Employers came into effect on 1 November 2016.

Following public consultation, Health and Social Care Standards: My support, my life were approved on 9 June 2017.

Health and Social Care Standards

The Health and Social Care Standards came into effect in April 2018. The Standards replace the National Care Standards and are now relevant across all health and social care provision. They are no longer just focused on regulated care settings, but for use in social care, early learning and childcare, children’s services, social work, health provision, and community justice.

The Scottish Government published Health and Social Care Standards: My Support, My Life in June 2017. The Care Inspectorate and Healthcare Improvement Scotland led a development group that co-produced the Standards, working alongside people using services, providers and other agencies. For more details on how the Standards were developed, visit Health and Social Care Standards: my support, my life - (

The Standards set out what we should expect when using health, social care or social work services in Scotland. They seek to provide better outcomes for everyone; to ensure that individuals are treated with respect and dignity, and that the basic human rights we are all entitled to are upheld.

The Principles

The Standards are underpinned by five principles; dignity and respect, compassion, be included, responsive care and support and wellbeing.

The Standards are based on five headline outcomes:

• I experience high quality care and support that is right for me.

• I am fully involved in all decisions about my care and support.

• I have confidence in the people who support and care for me.

• I have confidence in the organisation providing my care and support.

• I experience a high quality environment if the organisation provides the premises.

Inspection approaches

The Care Inspectorate is changing the way it inspects the quality of care and support to reflect the Health and Social Care Standards. Since the 1 April implementation date, they have been referring to these standards in all of their scrutiny and improvement work. They are now developing inspection frameworks and models which reflect the ambition of the standards, and the focus on experiences and outcomes. They have committed to doing this incrementally, and with the involvement of people who experience, provide, and commission care and support. They want their approaches to support robust, evidence-based self-evaluation.

In July 2018, they introduced a framework for inspections of care homes for older people, and use this framework on their inspections. You can find a copy of this, and more detail about how they will use it here. The framework is designed for use in self-evaluation, inspection, and improvement support, and draws heavily on the Health and Social Care Standards. It uses a series of key questions and quality indicators to help prompt reflection on the quality of care provided. It provides illustrations of what they believe constitutes ‘very good’ and ’weak’ care and support in relation to each quality indicator, relevant to care homes for older people. The quality framework also provides information about how the inspectorate gather evidence on an inspection, and gives links to relevant improvement resources. They will evaluate quality using the existing six point scale from unsatisfactory to excellent, and  will report publicly on what they find.

Further information

For more information, videos and other supporting materials, please visit the microsite Health and Social Care Standards: my support, my life - (

CareTutor offers a range of training courses for both the Home Care and Care Home sectors, all of which comply with the Health and Social Care Standards.