Social Service Workers – Don’t Forget to Register!

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) is responsible for registering and regulating people employed in social services. There are currently over 198,000 social service workers in Scotland. These include people employed in social work, social care, care homes and nurseries.

It is estimated that by the year 2020, approximately 10% of the Scottish workforce will require to be registered with the SSSC.  To be eligible for SSSC registration, an individual must be employed in a role which is regulated by the Care Inspectorate.  Registration is already compulsory for many types of social service worker and compulsory registration is being gradually phased in for many other roles.  You can see the compulsory registration timetable at:

In August this year, significant changes were made to the legislation which governs registration with the SSSC.  These changes impact particularly on social service workers taking up a new role.  Anyone commencing employment within a group to which SSSC registration currently applies (again, see the link above) will have to apply for registration as soon as is reasonably practicable.  Crucially, it is necessary for the registration to be achieved within 6 months of the person starting in their new role.

These requirements have fairly significant implications because they are not restricted to those entering the social services sector for the first time.   Workers who are already SSSC registered will need to comply with the procedure if they are taking up a new role either with the same employer or with a new employer and where the new rule falls within one of the groups for which the register is currently open.  For example, a supervisor in a care home for adults would need to register as a residential childcare worker if they elected for a change of job as a childcare worker.  The change will not affect jobholders who are already registered and who will remain in the same role.

This also impacts on employers of social service workers who are under a legal duty to ensure that all of their staff members are registered as appropriate.  An employer who employs an unregistered worker beyond the 6 month window would be committing an offence.

Workers who do not immediately hold the qualifications for registration need not panic.  It is possible for registration to be granted subject to the qualifications being attained within a specified period.

Jack Boyle
Solicitor – Employment Law 

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