Implications of labour markets for the social care workforce: report

Independent research on the influence of national and local labour markets on the social care sector.

2 Policy Context


2.1 This chapter considers the changing context for the social care sector in terms of the demand for services, the way services are organised and delivered, and changes in the policy environment.

Policy drivers

2.2 Table 2.1 includes examples of key policies and strategic drivers that influence social care in terms of the demand for services and the way services are organised and delivered.

2.3 Key policy drivers broadly include the integration of Health and Social Care, personalisation of care[58] and expansion of ELC[59]. Due to ongoing financial pressures, Audit Scotland notes that most new service initiatives have been funded using additional financial support from the Scottish Government, rather than through the re-distribution of Health and Social Care resources[60].

Table 2.1: Key policy drivers for workforce development
Policies, programmes and reports Details
Integration of Health and Social Care
Integration of Health and Social Care Integration of Health and Social Care is a principal strand of the Scottish Government’s public sector reform agenda and includes a key focus on the skills of the workforce. It is focussed primarily although not exclusively on meeting the challenges of Scotland's ageing population by shifting the necessary resources to community-based and preventative care at home, or in a homely setting, to ensure that the right care is received at any point in the care journey.[61]
National Health and Wellbeing Outcomes These provide a strategic framework for the planning and delivery of Health and Social Care services. This suite of outcomes, together, focus on improving the experiences and quality of services for people using those services, carers and their families. They focus on improving how services are provided, as well as the difference that integrated Health and Social Care services should make, for individuals.
Workforce Plans
National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan (NWP)[62] [63] [64] The NWP aims to enable local and national planning to support improvements in service delivery and design. It is designed to take a whole system approach to workforce planning and acknowledges the interdependencies across all parts of the system. It is currently in three parts covering workforce planning in the NHS, Social Care and Primary Care. The current reports have a set of recommendations which include: the need for an integrated workforce data platform to support workforce planning; national and local labour market workforce analysis; and improving career pathways including career pathways between and within Health and Social Care. An Integrated Workforce Plan for Health and Social Care is expected in late 2019.
Reform of Adult Social Care[65] The aim of the reform programme is to support the changes needed to achieve the vision of adult social care support and overcome challenges that are preventing it. This will consider workforce issues and new models of care and support.
Workforce Regulation
The Care Inspectorate[66]

Registration with the SSSC[67]
The Care Inspectorate is the national regulator for care services in Scotland. They inspect services and evaluate the quality of care they deliver, and support improvement in individual services and across the care sector nationally. Care services in Scotland must be registered with the Care Inspectorate and a broad range of the individuals who work in those services must be registered with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).

The SSSC is the regulator for the social service workforce in Scotland. The SSSC:

  • publish the national codes of practice for people working in the social service workforce and their employers
  • register people working in the social service sector and make sure they adhere to the SSSC Codes of Practice
  • promote and regulate the learning and development of the social service workforce
  • are the national lead for workforce development and planning for the social service sector in Scotland
As of June 2019 over 130,000 people[68] have registered with the SSSC, some in more than one category. The final phase of registration within current policy is for workers in care at home and housing support who must register by September 2020.
Self-Directed Support
Social Care (Self-Directed Support) (Scotland) Act[69] In 2013 The Scottish Parliament passed a new law on social care support, the Social Care (Self-Directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013. The Act gives people a range of options for how their social care is delivered, beyond just direct payments, empowering people to decide how much ongoing control and responsibility they want over their own support arrangements.
Expansion of ELC
Children and Young People (Scotland) Act (2014)[70] The increase in funded childcare hours builds on the Scottish Government’s Early Years Framework, which has, at its core, early intervention to make sure that every child in Scotland has the best start in life.
A Blueprint for 2020: The Expansion of Early Learning and Childcare in Scotland: Quality Action Plan
Early Learning and Childcare Providers: Delivery Support Plan[71]
Getting It Right for Every Child (GIRFEC)
GIRFEC[72] GIRFEC is the national policy framework aimed at supporting the wellbeing of children and young people in Scotland. GIRFEC is central to all government policies which support children, young people and their families and is delivered through services and people who work with families. GIRFEC is based on children’s right and its principles reflect the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Fair Work Practices
Fair Work in Scotland’s social care sector[73]

Real Living Wage[74]
Scotland’s aspiration is to be a leading fair work nation, which means that workers are paid and treated fairly, with opportunities to progress, learn and have a voice on what matters to them. The growing importance of fair work is recognised by the Scottish Government, and it is central to Scotland’s Economic Strategy and is underpinned by measurable indicators in the National Performance Framework. The Fair Work Convention advises the Scottish Government on fair work and advocates for fair work in Scotland, creating benefits for individuals and their families, businesses and society.

In February 2019 the Fair Work Convention published its report Fair Work in Scotland’s Social Care Sector 2019. The report calls for urgent interventions by policy makers, commissioners and leaders in the social care sector to improve the quality of work and employment for the sector.

Research suggests that the introduction of the Real Living Wage for adult Social Care workers represented a significant progressive effort by the Scottish Government to improve the working conditions and living standards of front-line staff in the sector[75].The Scottish Government has committed to supporting the implementation of the Real Living Wage for ELC staff.[76]



Back to top