Role of the Scottish Social Services Council

The role of the Scottish social services council: Ensuring excellence in social care

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) plays a pivotal role in maintaining and enhancing the quality of social services in Scotland. As the regulatory body for the social services workforce, the SSSC sets standards for education, conduct, and practice, ensuring that all social service workers deliver high-quality care. In this blog, Dr Richard Dune will explore the SSSC’s functions, key facts and statistics, and best practices for implementing relevant legislation and regulations. By understanding the SSSC’s role, organisations can better meet statutory and regulatory requirements, ultimately improving care outcomes.

Key facts and statistics

  • The SSSC was established in October 2001 under the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001.
  • Over 100,000 social service workers are registered with the SSSC.
  • The SSSC approves more than 300 education and training programmes.
  • In 2022, the SSSC received approximately 2,500 complaints regarding conduct and practice.
  • The social services sector in Scotland employs around 200,000 people, contributing significantly to the Scottish economy.

Key definitions

  • Social services workforce - Includes social workers, social care workers, early years practitioners, and other professionals who deliver social care services.
  • Fitness to practice - An individual's suitability to be registered and perform their professional role, ensuring they have the necessary skills, knowledge, and character.

The Role of the SSSC

Setting standards

The SSSC sets out the standards of practice and behaviour expected of social service workers and their employers. These standards are detailed in the Codes of Practice, which guide professionals in delivering high-quality care.

Registration and regulation

All social service workers in Scotland must register with the SSSC. Registration ensures that workers are suitably qualified and adhere to the established standards of practice. The SSSC also regulates education and training programmes to ensure they meet the required standards.

Promoting continuous learning

The SSSC promotes continuous professional development (CPD) among social service workers. It provides resources and guidance to help workers enhance their skills and knowledge, ensuring they can deliver the best possible care.

Ensuring fitness to practice

The SSSC has the authority to investigate complaints about the conduct and practice of registered workers. This process ensures that only those who are fit to practice remain on the register, maintaining public confidence in social services.

Best practices for implementation of legislation and regulations

  • Understanding and applying the codes of practice - Organisations must ensure that all staff understand and adhere to the SSSC Codes of Practice. Regular training sessions and refresher courses can help reinforce these standards.
  • Comprehensive staff training - All staff should undergo comprehensive training programmes approved by the SSSC. These programmes ensure workers have the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver high-quality care.
  • Regular performance reviews - Implementing regular performance reviews helps identify areas for improvement and ensures that workers meet the required standards of practice. Feedback from these reviews can inform CPD plans.
  • Implementing robust complaints procedures - Organisations should have robust procedures for handling complaints about conduct and practice. These procedures should be aligned with SSSC guidelines to ensure complaints are managed effectively and fairly.
  • Utilising compliance management software - Using tools like ComplyPlus™ can help organisations manage compliance with SSSC standards more effectively. Such software can streamline the process of tracking training, registrations, and adherence to standards, ensuring that organisations remain compliant with regulations.


  • Regular training - Invest in training and development programmes for all staff to ensure they remain up-to-date with best practices.
  • Compliance audits - Conduct regular compliance audits to identify any gaps in adherence to SSSC standards and take corrective action.
  • Engage with SSSC resources - Use the SSSC's resources and guidance to support staff development and compliance.
  • Promote a culture of excellence - Foster a culture that prioritises high standards of care and continuous improvement.


The Scottish Social Services Council plays a crucial role in upholding the social care standards in Scotland. By understanding the SSSC’s functions and implementing best practices for compliance, organisations can ensure they provide the highest quality of care. Investing in regular training, robust compliance procedures, and utilising compliance management tools like ComplyPlus™ will help organisations meet the statutory and regulatory requirements, ultimately leading to better care outcomes.

Click here for more information on how ComplyPlus™ can support your organisation in meeting SSSC standards and improving compliance.

About the author

Dr Richard Dune

With over 20 years of experience, Richard blends a rich background in NHS, the private sector, academia, and research settings. His forte lies in clinical R&D, advancing healthcare tech, workforce development and governance. His leadership ensures regulatory compliance and innovation align seamlessly.

Ensuring excellence in social care - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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