Social care supports people with daily living so they can be as independent as possible.

It can also help people who look after a family member or loved one, like an unpaid carer.

We are improving how community health and social care support is accessed and provided in Scotland.


We are:

We have also:

Public information on care and caring is on the website.



National Care Service

We’re improving community health and social care support in Scotland. We want everyone to have access to consistently high-quality support, whenever they might need it.

That is why we’re introducing the National Care Service (NCS). It is being shaped by people who have experience of accessing and delivering social care support.

Find out more about the National Care Service.

Health and Social Care Delivery Plan

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:

Healthcare quality

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.

We have produced the following guidance on the Act: 

Self-directed support

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: (Central Enquiry Unit)

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