Social care means all forms of personal and practical support for children, young people and adults who need extra support. It describes services and other types of help, including care homes and supporting unpaid carers to help them continue in their caring role.
To improve social care support we work with:
- people who use or may need social care support
- Health and Social Care Partnerships
- local authorities
- the NHS
- people who work in social work and social care support
- the Care Inspectorate
- voluntary and independent sectors
- investing more than £700 million over 2019 to 2020 in health and social care integration
- working to protect and support adults at risk of being harmed
- improving support for unpaid carers
- reforming adult social care through a national programme
- sponsoring the Care Inspectorate and Health Improvement Scotland to regulate and improve health and social care support
- working to improve the lives of children and adults who have a sensory impairment and/or who use and need augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) by supporting assisted communication
- improving the lives of those living with autism and/or a learning disability
- improving the lives of people living with dementia, their families and carers as set out in our National Dementia Strategy 2017-2020
We have also:
- published our health and social care standards (June 2017) setting out what people should expect when accessing care and support
- published our digital health and social care strategy (April 2018) setting out how technology can support person-centred care
- created the Ministerial Strategic Group for Health and Community Care to direct transformational change in health and community care
- invested over £7.2 million in the Support in the Right Direction 2021 programme since October 2018 to deliver support across 31 local authority areas to help people and carers make informed decisions and plans for their care and support
- published our self-directed support implementation plan (June 2019) guiding local social care planning, delivery and actions for implementation
committed to provide support for independent living through the Independent Living Fund.
We published our Health and Social Care Delivery Plan in December 2016. This sets out actions for government and local health and care to better deliver patient care and support for people and better population health. Specifically it focused on four activity programmes:
- health and social care integration
- the National Clinical Strategy
- public health improvement
- reforming NHS Boards
We established a National Programme Board to oversee delivery of the plan. The plan was supported by £128 million of change funding in 2017 to 2018.
Reform of adult social care support
Our focus is on helping people to live independently, be active citizens who participate in and contribute to society and maintain their dignity and human rights. With COSLA and other partners we have announced a national programme of refer to better suport people whether they live in a home, in a community setting, in a care home or in palliative care. More information on our reform of adult social care support programme.
Mental health legislative review
We are reviewing the adults support and protection legislation alongside mental health and adults with incapacity law. The review will consider whether the adult support and protection legislation is compatible with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the European Court of Human Rights. We need to find out what is needed to ensure that Scotland continues to meet its international human rights commitments. More information about this review on our mental health legislation and guidance page.
Bills and legislation
The Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 created two new regulatory bodies:
- The Care Inspectorate (CI) is the national regulator for care in Scotland.
- Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) supports our healthcare priorities, in particular those of NHSScotland’s Healthcare Quality Strategy and the 2020 Vision.
We produced our Healthcare Quality Strategy for Scotland in May 2010. This strategy identified the following priorities:
- caring and compassionate staff and services
- clear communication and explanation about conditions and treatment
- effective collaboration between clinicians, patients and others
- a clean and safe care environment
- continuity of care
- clinical excellence
Health and social care integration
The Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act 2014 sets the framework for integrating adult health and social care support. Integrated care leads to improvements in the quality and consistency of health and social care. There are 31 integration authorities in Scotland who are required to work with local communities and providers of care to ensure care is responsive to people’s needs.
The Public Bodies (Joint Working) (National Health and Wellbeing Outcomes) (Scotland) Regulations 2014 require each integration authority to publish an annual performance report showing how they are improving the National Health and Wellbeing outcomes.
Background information about the development of integration is available in our website archive.
The Community Care and Health (Scotland) Act 2002 introduced free personal care for adults, regardless of income or whether they live at home or in residential care.
Carers (Scotland) Act 2016
The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 puts in place a system of carers’ rights designed to:
- listen to carers
- make support more consistent between areas
- prevent problems – helping protect carers’ health and wellbeing
We have produced a list of regulations and statutory instruments supporting the Act.
Adult support and protection
The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 requires councils and a range of public bodies to work together to support and protect adults who are unable to safeguard themselves, their property and their rights.
Adults with incapacity
The Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000 protects adults (people aged 16 or over) who lack capacity to take some or all decisions for themselves because of a mental disorder or an inability to communicate. It allows a person - such as a relative, friend or partner - to make decisions on someone's behalf.
The Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013 places a duty on local authority social work departments to offer people who are eligible for social care a range of choices over how they receive their support.
Assisted communication support
The Health (Tobacco, Nicotine etc. and Care)(Scotland) Act 2016 includes communication equipment and support legislation which places a duty on health boards to provide or secure the provision of communication equipment, and the support in using that equipment, to any person (children and adults) who has lost their voice or has difficulty speaking.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Central Enquiry Unit)