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Registration of care staff in Scotland
The Scottish Social Services Council(SSSC) is the regulatory body for social care staff in Scotland. It oversees the registration, workforce development, codes of practice and fitness to practice for all those who work in the care industry.
Established supervisors in Care at Home services will be aware that the deadline for their registration with the Scottish Social Services Council is at the end of this month, June 30 2017. This has been a three year period from June 2014, when the register for Care at Home staff was opened. Support workers in Care at Home services will be required to apply to register from a date later this year, yet to be announced (estimated to be from September 2017).
The deadline for Care at Home supervisors only applies to those in their post previous to June 2014. New supervisors after that date, and henceforth, are expected to be registered within six months of their appointment.
What does registration involve?
There are several requirements for registration. The person must:
- Apply on a form with the prescribed fee
- Have the required qualifications for the post
- Be 'fit to practice', i.e. be of good character and conduct
- Agree to, and abide by, the code of practice for social care workers and managers
- Undertake the required amount of post-registration and training, keeping a log of this, and submitting it on request
- Renew registration before the expiry of the current registration period (normally five years after the initial registration)
These are substantial requirements, and staff are not allowed to work unless their registration on the relevant part of the register is completed and maintained. They are designed for the safety and well-being of all those affected by the work, including services users, staff and employers.
Information on registration
The SSSC website is particularly easy to use. It gives details of the qualifications needed for every relevant post, and other information regarding registration for each post. In the Care at Home Supervisor section, for example, it states that there are two kinds of qualifications needed, a practice element and a management element. The usual minimum requirement for the former is given as ' SVQ Social Service and Healthcare at SCQF (Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework) Level 9', and for the latter, it is 'SVQ4 Care Service Leadership and Management at SCQF Level 10'.
Induction of new staff
New staff will undergo an induction program to familiarise themselves with the aims and objectives, with significant people, policies and procedures, and the particular values of the service concerned. There is no overall induction for all services, unlike in England where the Care Certificate covers information which new workers will need. However, the SSSC has worked on a 'Common Core of skills, knowledge and values' which is described on their website:
'Demonstrating the Common Core attributes can support improved experiences and outcomes for people using services and has benefits for workers and employers too… Through time this could lead to shared terminology and resources in recruitment, induction, guidance, learning and development and qualifications. This could help improve joint learning and working and a greater shared understanding between disciplines.'
However, pursuing this could, I believe, lead to the potential for duplication of processes already laid down in the codes of practice, fitness to practice, and qualifications requirements which are already in place. This might be seen as imposing an unnecessary burden on already stretched staff and services.
There is also a code of conduct and practice used for Healthcare Support Workers across Scotland, which may also extend to other workers, given the ongoing program of full integration of health and social care services in Scotland.
The registration of care staff is a worthwhile protective mechanism, and has hopefully reduced or prevented unfavourable incidents which might otherwise occur. While it might be seen as onerous and expensive by some, it can be seen as an endorsement of the professionalism of the caring task. This can lead to greater confidence for people choosing care services, as well as a welcome sign that the skills and expertise of staff is recognised and valued.