Scotland: The National Care Standards and Codes of Practice


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 National 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, new Health and Social Care Standards: My support, my life were approved on 9 June 2017. These will be rolled-out across Scotland’s health and social care sector in the lead up to 1 April 2018 when the new Standards come into force. 

In the meantime, the current National Care Standards still apply. The Standards explain what the public can expect from any care service they use, written from the point of view of the person using the service. They also help services understand and meet the quality and standards of care which they should provide. There are six main principles behind the Standards:

  • Dignity
  • Privacy
  • Choice
  • Safety
  • Realising Potential
  • Equality and Diversity

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

In the care home sector, the Standards are grouped under headings which follow the person's journey through the service. The standards that are particularly pertinent to care training are designed to ensure that a person using a service can be confident that:

  1. the staff providing their support and care has the knowledge and skills gained from the experience of working with people whose needs are similar to the person using the service. If they are new staff, they are being helped to get this experience as part of a planned training programme.
  2. all the staff use methods that reflect up-to-date knowledge and best-practice guidance, and that the management are continuously striving to improve practice.
  3. the home's staff, managers and volunteers are all recruited and selected through a process which includes:
  • equal opportunities procedures;
  • Disclosure Scotland checks;
  • taking up references; and
  • cross-reference to the registers of the Scottish Social Services Council, UKCC or other professional organisations, where appropriate.
  1. any volunteers who work in the care home are familiar with all the home's policies and procedures. They receive all the relevant training to help them put these into practice.
  2. at all times the number of staff who are trained and who have the necessary skills is sufficient to meet the person’s support and care needs. The levels are agreed between the Commission's inspectors and the home owner or manager.
  3. at least 50% of the staff directly caring for the person is either trained to at least SVQ2 level or equivalent or are working towards achieving the relevant qualification required for registration with the SSSC (calculation of the 50% includes registered nurses employed by the service where they are working as direct care staff) .
  4. the service has a staff development strategy and an effective yearly training plan for all its staff. For staff caring for a person directly, this focuses on them achieving the qualifications required for registration with the SSSC (N.B. does not include registered nurses, who must be registered with their regulatory body, the Nursing and Midwifery Council).
  5. if medicines are being organised for a person, they can be sure that the staff who are doing this are knowledgeable and trained to do so, following up-to-date best-practice guidance. The staff are fully aware of the home's systems for giving medication. They know how to store and administer a person’s medication safely and in the way that suits that person best.
  6. whether or not a person is organising their own medication, the staff are trained to check this. They will, with that person’s agreement, get advice from their GP if there are any concerns about the person’s condition or medication.
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