Social care - Independent Review of Inspection, Scrutiny and Regulation: recommendation report

The Independent Review of Inspection, Scrutiny and Regulation (IRISR) of social care support in Scotland: recommendation report provided by Dame Sue Bruce. The IRISR explored how social care support and linked services are inspected, scrutinised and regulated in Scotland.

4. Listening and Learning

Hearing the views and experiences of all individuals, including seldom heard voices, was paramount in this Review. It was critical that the Review’s recommendations were informed by listening to and learning from people, particularly those who work in and use social care support services as well as other linked services such as housing support, addiction services and community health.

The Review has benefitted from open and honest engagement by individuals from the outset and participants have come forward with constructive ideas and views on how things can change and be developed for the better. It is also important to stress that we heard many examples of where things worked well, and of how people and services were supported to make and sustain improvements.

Who did the Review engage with?

This image shows a list of the different panel members. It includes the chair and vice chair, as well as partner organisations.

To offer as much opportunity for involvement with the Review as possible, an engagement programme took place between October 2022 and January 2023. This consisted of two main elements: a call for evidence and a series of engagement events. Both elements of the programme focused on five key themes:

  • Theme 1 – a person-centred approach.
  • Theme 2 – what needs to be inspected, scrutinised, and regulated?
  • Theme 3 – how should inspection, scrutiny, and regulation be carried out?
  • Theme 4 – how will we know systems are working?
  • Theme 5 – how will systems of inspection, scrutiny, and regulation support the workforce?

Call for evidence

The call for evidence was launched on 24 October 2022 and ran until 13 January 2023. Details of the call for evidence were shared widely across the social care support sector and other linked services. Responses to the call for evidence were submitted using the consultation platform Citizen Space.

To ensure all of the information gathered as part of the call for evidence and engagement events was thoroughly and independently analysed, Why Research was commissioned (through an open tendering process) to undertake the consultation analysis. The ‘Independent Review of Inspection, Scrutiny, and Regulation (IRISR) Call for Evidence Analysis Report’ sets out the findings across the five themes in detail, and was critical in informing the recommendations set out in this report.

A total of 100 responses were received, 60 were from organisations and 40 from individuals. A list of all those organisations that submitted a response to the call for evidence is included in Appendix 1 of the analysis report. Respondents were assigned to particular groupings to allow analysis of any differences or commonalities across or within the various types of organisations and individuals that responded. The following table provides the profile of those who responded to the call for evidence.

Table 1: Respondent profile: call for evidence
Respondent sub- group
Advocacy 3
Health & Social Care Partnerships (HSCP) / Local authority 8
Regulator 5
Representative body 28
Providers of social care support 10
Other 6
Total organisations 60
Individuals 40
Total respondents 100

Engagement events

Twenty engagement events were held across Scotland, led by the Vice Chair. In- person events were hosted in Orkney, Inverness, Borders, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Kirriemuir, and Ballater, with the remaining events held virtually.

The virtual meetings enabled people from across Scotland to attend which meant there was representation from different geographical locations.

In total the engagement events were attended by 149 people. As the following table shows this included a wide range of providers of social care support, representative bodies, regulators, local authorities, advocacy organisations, individuals, and others.

Table 2: Respondent profile: engagement events
  Respondent sub- group
Advocacy 4
Health and Social Care Partnerships (HSCP) / Local authority 17
Regulator 8
Representative body 24
Organisations providing social care support 38
Other 39
Total organisations 130
Individuals 19
Total respondents 149

In order to maximise opportunities for people to contribute via engagement sessions, a number of bespoke events were facilitated by members of the Practitioner and Stakeholder Panel, and the Vice Chair responded to requests for individual conversations. In addition, the Chair and Vice-Chair held a number of meetings with the regulators to gather their perspectives of what currently worked well and where they saw current challenges.

Findings from the analysis report are considered under each of the subsequent Themes but key findings identified by Why Research include:

  • ensuring that people with lived and living experience are able to share their knowledge and thus contribute to inspection and regulation processes. To do this, it is vital that people are involved in decision making, and at the centre of systems of inspection, scrutiny, and regulation;
  • a majority of respondents felt there are services not currently subject to inspection, scrutiny, and regulation that should be;
  • if something goes wrong in a service respondents wished to see a clear procedure for reporting the problems, particularly for people receiving social care support;
  • there were also calls for all people involved with providing social care support to have a role in improvements;
  • it was seen as important to involve people receiving social care support and their families in co-designing inspection, scrutiny, and regulation processes;
  • there were also calls to ensure that training for the social care support workforce provides people with the skills needed to perform their roles effectively; and
  • creating a culture change so that inspection, scrutiny, and regulation is seen as an opportunity to reflect on challenges, successes and learning; it was felt that a greater focus on the positives was needed.

Advisory panels

The work of the Review was supported by two advisory panels, the Independent Review Panel and the Practitioner and Stakeholder Panel, both of which included people with lived and living experience.

The Independent Review Panel (IRP) consisted of nine individuals who were appointed as well-recognised experts in a number of fields relevant to the Review. This included academic research, public mental health, health care regulation, housing, criminal justice, children’s services, community health, governance, social work and equality and advocacy across the public sector. Membership of the IRP can be found in Appendix A.

The Practitioner and Stakeholder Panel (PSP) included representatives from a large number of organisations and groups across the sector. The PSP was made up of 29 organisations and groups, including Social Work Scotland, Scottish Care, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA), Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS), Centre for Excellence for Children’s Care and Protection, People-Led Policy Panel, Community Justice Scotland, Scottish Trade Union Congress, and Coalition of Carers in Scotland. Membership of the PSP can be found in Appendix B.

Both panels provided expert knowledge, guidance and support in the making of the Review recommendations.

Subject matter expert meetings

The Chair and the Vice Chair hosted in excess of 30 meetings with professional subject matter experts across the sector, to inform the Review. A full list of who they met with can be found in Appendix C.



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