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25th July 2014

Will Compulsory Registration of Support Workers Improve the Quality of Care in Care Homes?

register word in wood typeThe Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) is responsible for registering all Social Service workers and regulating their education and training. With the majority of Social Service workers already registered, including social workers, social work students, managers, supervisors and practitioners, the deadline is fast approaching for the compulsory registration of support workers in care home services for adults.

There are over 191,000 social service workers in Scotland today working across a variety of settings.

In order to register the large volume of care home support workers, estimated to be around 23,000 by the deadline of 30 September 2015, applications for registration of care home support workers employed before 01 August 2013 must be submitted by 30 September 2014.

What does registration of care home support workers mean for health and social care in Scotland?

Registration of support workers has an important role in improving safeguards for service users and increasing public confidence in the sector.

The SSSC Code of Practice for Social Service Workers and Employers sets the standards that support workers in care homes for adults and their employers should meet. Not only do these standards provide clear guidance for support workers and their employers, they also provide clear standards that service users can expect from their support workers.

Registration of care home support workers should support a shift in culture, recognising the support worker as a professional role within the health and social care workforce.

Other benefits of registration include:

  • development of a skilled and committed workforce.
  • greater accountability for the support worker
  • evidence that social service workers meet the competence, good character and conduct requirements set by the SSSC for registration

How will registration affect the support worker as an individual?

Registration costs £15 and the same fee will also be due annually to remain registered with the SSSC.

All applicants to the register must be a member of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme.

Post registration training and learning by the individual support worker - 10 days or 60 hours within a 5 year period.

Support workers new to the sector will be required to register with the SSSC within 6 months of commencing employment.

What can care home services expect as a result of SSSC registration?

The benefits of registration with the SSSC for the employee, employer and service user are apparent, and this positive shift in culture - recognising the support worker as a professional will support the drive for continuous quality improvement in the care home sector.

Consideration should however be given to the effect compulsory registration may have on recruitment of support workers new to the healthcare sector.

It is estimated that over the next 5 years over 50,000 social service workers will register with the SSSC for the first time.


Kristin Jackson-Brown - Scottish Care Expert


Topics: Scottish Care

Sarah Riley

Senior Customer Care Executive

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