National health and social care workforce plan: part two

Part two of the plan will enable different workforce planning systems to move towards improved planning in social care.

Chapter 5: The Changing Shape Of The Workforce

59. This chapter outlines some of the priorities and challenges for the workforce, in achieving the vision for social care set out in Chapter 2. There is a long-standing national policy to support the upskilling and professionalisation of the workforce and the current frameworks for the regulation and development of the workforce are summarised below to provide this context. This chapter also outlines some of the current challenges for the workforce such as recruitment and retention, clear pathways for career progression and demand for new skills, which have led to additional priorities for action. These priorities are set out in recommendations to improve recruitment, enhance career pathways and further develop training and education to equip the workforce for now and for the future. This section does not consider the early learning and childcare workforce due to the parallel programme of work resulting from the commitment to expansion of this workforce.

Delivering the vision: Priorities for a skilled and valued workforce

60. We share a vision that whatever its size and composition in the future, we will need a social care workforce which is skilled and valued and which works collaboratively to empower, support and protect people, with a focus on prevention, early intervention and enablement. Some of the priorities for the workforce that arise from the vision outlined for Social Care in Chapter 2 are:

  • The need to ensure that social care becomes a career of choice for people at all stages of life, including by investing in the workforce and by championing the invaluable contribution that the social care workforce makes in our society;
  • The need to invest in developing the workforce so that their skills are refreshed to meet changing demands arising from policy and service developments;
  • The need to support a compassionate, autonomous workforce that is skilled at having good conversations with people, can support them to live as independently as possible for as long as possible, is confident in supporting people to set and make progress towards their own goals and can help people manage risk in their lives;
  • The need to equip the workforce and users of services for digital transformation and greater use of technology.

61. Some of the challenges involved in addressing these priorities include:

  • How to balance people’s rights to choice and control of their social care support with rewarding roles and a good work-life balance for staff;
  • How to support and equip the workforce to work in multi-disciplinary teams to ensure people get the right support at the right time;
  • How to support the workforce in responding to policies which demand greater autonomy for the social care workforce and more innovation in models of support that are personalised for individuals;
  • How to improve career opportunities that recognise the variety of responsibilities and skills required in social care roles and that provide flexible career pathways which give personal job satisfaction while supporting the retention of staff.

Frameworks for regulation and development of the workforce

62. A number of the priorities and challenges outlined above identify the need for further development of the workforce. The Scottish Government in partnership with employers and other partners, including COSLA, has a long-standing policy to increase the skills, qualifications and quality of the social care workforce, with the aim of improving outcomes for service users and increasing public protection. Regulation and registration of the workforce forms a key element of this approach.

63. Many groups of social care workers are required to register with the SSSC and there are now more than 100,000 individual people on the register, including social workers, workers in residential childcare, care home services for adults, day care of children services and care at home/housing support services. On current estimates by 2020, the work of the SSSC will bring the numbers of staff regulated to around 80% of the workforce. Those employed as nurses in care services are required to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council; other health and allied health professionals may be registered with other professional bodies.

64. When registration was introduced in the early 2000s, it was estimated that around 80% of the social services workforce did not have any qualifications. Now, all those currently registered with the SSSC are in a position where they will have achieved or be working towards the qualifications required for their role and continuously updating their skills and knowledge to maintain their registration.

65. To meet their requirements under the SSSC Code of Practice for Employers and the National Health and Social Care Standards, employers are required to ensure that their staff have the necessary skills and knowledge to undertake their roles and continuously update their skills to reflect changes in policy and practice. The Care Inspectorate has the lead role in ensuring that employers exercise these responsibilities in a way which supports positive experiences and outcomes for people who use services.

66. The SSSC develops and updates the National Occupational Standards ( NOS) in Scotland. The NOS underpin SVQs used by people in practice settings including adult social care, work with looked after children, secure care, community justice, substance misuse and youth justice. These qualifications provide workers with pathways into leadership and management roles, as well as routes into further education and development such as the social work degree.

67. Social workers must hold a suitable social work qualification to be registered with the SSSC. For other roles, people new into a role for which registration is required have six months after staring work in which to register, following which they have five years in which to obtain the qualification required for that role. The qualifications required for many roles can be obtained through vocational training while in employment. Courses are available at Further Education Colleges or Universities and in many cases can also be organised and provided locally by employers. The Workforce Skills Report 2016/17 reports that [17] (approximate figures):

  • 33% of 30,000 support workers in care homes for adults hold the required qualification for registration;
  • 53% of 1,400 housing support managers hold the required qualification;
  • 62% of 7,000 residential childcare workers hold the required qualification.

68. All social services workers on the SSSC register are required to undertake a minimum number of hours of professional development within a registration period. A wide variety of activities can contribute to the requirement, including, for example, formal training delivered by employers, self-directed learning and research.

69. Some workers in the sector may lack confidence as learners and be reluctant to undertake formal learning. The SSSC has worked with the Scottish Qualifications Authority, the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework ( SCQF) and representatives from the social services sector to develop an approach to recognition of prior learning that allows consideration of informal learning and can speed up attainment of qualifications.

70. Modern Apprenticeships ( MAs) provide a work-based route into a career in the sector. The SSSC works with Skills Development Scotland and other partner bodies to maximise the number of MAs in social services and the sector obtains almost ten per cent of MAs in Scotland. This is greater than the sector’s share of Scottish employment, which is just under eight per cent. Foundation Apprenticeships provide a further entry route into the sector, and help young people gain experience and access work-based learning while still at school.

71. A number of learning and skills frameworks have been developed to support the learning and development needs of the workforce. These include:

  • Enhancing Leadership – a delivery plan for 2017-2020;
  • Enriching and Improving Experience – Palliative and End of Life Care (2017);
  • Promoting Excellence – a framework for health and social services staff working with people with dementia;
  • Equal Partners in Care – guidance to support workers in working in partnership with carers.

Current workforce challenges

72. A number of priorities for the workforce to enable delivery of the vision for social care were outlined at the beginning of this chapter. During development of this workforce plan, we have identified a number of existing areas of challenge that are shared priorities for action now. These are set out below and have led to the development of recommendations 5-7.

Recruitment challenges in adult social care services

73. Recruitment challenges in social services, particularly in the adult social care sector, have been regularly highlighted (eg SSSC Workforce Skills Report, October 2017). Problems appear to be most prominent in the independent and third sectors and in rural areas of Scotland. Recruitment challenges have been linked to low pay, difficulties finding people to work anti-social hours, perceptions of the sector and the emotional stress of care work [18] . The Care Inspectorate report on Staff Vacancies in Care Services also provides evidence of increasing difficulties in filling vacancies, particularly in adult social care [19] :

  • At the end of 2016, 35% of social care services reported one or more staff vacancies, an increase of 1 percentage point from the previous year;
  • Care homes for adults/older people, housing support and care at home services were the main service types with the largest proportion of services reporting vacancies;
  • 41% of services had difficulties filling vacancies (an increase of 2 percentage points from the previous year);
  • Care at home services (64%), care homes for older people (57%), care homes for adults (49%) and housing support services (48%) had particularly high proportions of services reporting problems filling vacancies;
  • The main reasons why services found vacancies difficult to fill were too few applicants with experience, too few applicants in general and too few qualified applicants.

74. The UK’s departure from the EU will potentially have a negative impact on both recruitment and retention in the social care workforce. Additionally, early indications are that fewer non- UK EU/ EEA [20] nationals are seeking employment in the UK and that current uncertainties in relation to the UK Government’s future migration policy are a significant disincentive. Current official statistics indicate that 4.4% of the social work workforce is made up of non- UK EU nationals [21] . These statistics are based on a survey of sample households with self-reported employment data, and stakeholder surveys have suggested that in some parts of the sector, the percentages may be higher (eg Scottish Care data suggest that 6% of care home staff and 8% of nurses in care homes are non- UK EU nationals [22] ). The Scottish Government has commissioned work to improve understanding of the contribution of non- UK EU nationals to the social services workforce.

75. The impact of the UK’s departure from the EU will also be influenced by the extent to which future migration policy provides flexibilities to allow for sectoral and/or regional recruitment activity in areas of acute need, with particular relevance to the restrictions presented by the current visa and immigration system. Pursuant to commitments made in the 2017-18 Programme for Government, “A Nation with Ambition”, the Scottish Government will publish a series of evidence-based discussion papers, exploring, amongst other things, new immigration powers for the Scottish Parliament, to enable the Scottish Government to better achieve its ambitions.

76. Low pay is being addressed through action on the Living Wage. From October 2016 all adult social care workers have been entitled to receive the Scottish Living Wage; this commitment has included adult day care staff and personal assistants from April 2017. The recent commitment to include care workers delivering sleepovers will be delivered over 2018/19.

77. The Fair Work Convention, established to drive forward Fair Work in Scotland, has established a Social Care Working Group to address current issues in the social care workforce. The Fair Work Convention will use the recommendations developed by the Working Group to advise Scottish Government on how best to ensure the Fair Work Framework is implemented across the social care sector.

78. Other support for recruitment in the sector comes from the SSSC’s Ambassadors for Careers in Care network, and online resources for careers advisers and individuals interested in a career in care (e.g. A Career in Social Services 2017). The SSSC and Skills Development Scotland have developed Foundation Apprenticeships to enable people at school to study and gain experience for a career in care. Modern Apprenticeships also provide a route for recruiting more young people into care and Graduate Apprenticeships are at the early stages of development.

79. Some Integration Authorities are developing approaches for tackling local recruitment challenges. For example, Edinburgh Health and Social Care Partnership are working with partners on a multi-pronged approach, including a Health and Social Care Academy for Edinburgh’s schools to promote careers in care, exploring pre-employment care at home academies previously developed in the independent sector, and targeted marketing materials.

80. Part 1 of this Plan sets out a number of recommendations to address persistent recruitment challenges in the NHS Scotland workforce. These include new approaches to make health and social care careers more attractive to young people through improved marketing and advertising and promoting careers in schools.

81. A recruitment marketing campaign is being developed to meet the workforce needs arising from the expansion in provision of Early Learning and Childcare ( ELC). This expansion will almost double entitlement to funded early learning and childcare to 1140 hours a year by 2020 for all three and four‑year olds and eligible two-year olds. Phase one of the campaign was launched in October 2017 and focused on school leavers, raising awareness of a career in ELC and encouraging them to apply for appropriate training opportunities. Phase two will focus on career changers, including parental returners. Concerns have been expressed by a range of stakeholders that expansion of the ELC workforce will increase recruitment and retention challenges in other parts of the care sector.

82. In parallel with these actions, consideration should be given to similar national level activity to support recruitment and retention and to promote social care as a meaningful, valued and rewarding career choice. Recommendation 5 below seeks to establish such a campaign, which will require further engagement with employers, including local authorities and those in the third and independent sectors, and/or their representative bodies, with commissioners of health and social care and with skills and education bodies to ensure there is alignment with local activity and that additional value is gained by national action.

Recommendation 5: Promoting social care and social care settings more widely as a positive career choice

  • To deliver a national campaign to promote the social care profession as a meaningful, valued and rewarding career choice and social care as an employment area of choice for a range of professionals. In developing the campaign, we will engage with employers, including those in the third and independent sectors and/or their representative organisations and trade unions. The campaign will:
    • be targeted at the potential, current and future workforce;
    • be targeted at new entrants to the sector at any age, career changers and those returning to work;
    • aim to support improved recruitment and retention within the sector;
    • aim to increase the appeal of the social care sector to nurses and other health-related professionals;
    • reinforce social care as a career in itself as well as highlighting possible pathways between different areas of work.

Availability of nurses in care homes

83. Nurses play a vital role in delivering services across the health and social care sectors. There were around 6,650 registered nurses working in the social services sector at the end of 2016, representing around 10% of the registered nursing workforce in Scotland. The role of nurses is particularly significant in care homes for adults; with 91% of all nurses working in social services employed by the independent sector either in care homes for adults (64%) or in nurse agencies (27%). Nurse agencies provide a source of registered nurses and other types of care staff to social care service providers, hospitals and others who need care staff.

84. The number of nurses in nurse agencies has increased substantially in recent years (an increase of 44% between 2014 and 2016), while the number of nurses directly employed in care homes has fallen by 12% over the same period. Stakeholders from the independent sector have raised concerns about the impact of this shift - from direct employment to use of agency staff - on sustainability and quality of care and linked it to wider issues with recruitment and retention of nurses in adult social care. Scrutiny evidence from the Care Inspectorate identifies a link between stable and consistent staff teams, and the quality of care experienced by people; over-reliance on agency staff can therefore impact negatively on care quality.

85. Care Inspectorate data and stakeholder surveys indicate that the numbers of services with nursing vacancies has risen over the years 2014-17 [23] . The Care Inspectorate has considered and in some cases agreed changes to staffing models in care homes where it has not been possible to recruit nurses and where satisfactory arrangements are put in place to provide nursing care in innovative ways, often accompanied by upskilling care staff to work as part of multi-disciplinary team. The data indicate that:

  • 21% of services had problems filling nurse vacancies at end 2016, an increase of 1 percentage point from the previous year [24] ;
  • 49% of care homes for older people reported one or more vacancies at end 2016 [25] ;
  • A Scottish Care 2017 survey indicated a 31% level of nurse vacancies across their member providers, an increase of 3 percentage points from 2016 [26] ;
  • The same survey showed that 91% of their member providers were having difficulties filling nurse vacancies, with 54% finding recruitment more difficult than the previous year;
  • The main problems identified by providers were an insufficient supply of suitably qualified/experienced nurses, the perception that the care sector offers less attractive career opportunities for nurses than does the NHS, pay and the impact of the UK’s planned departure from the EU [27] .

86. A number of ongoing national and local initiatives aim to ensure an appropriate and sustainable registered nursing workforce within care home settings. Part 1 of the National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan describes the current nursing workforce in NHS Scotland and sets out work currently in progress to deliver sustainable approaches to meeting a rising demand for qualified nurses. Part 1 commits to creating an estimated 2,600 extra training places over the next four years as part of a wider package to recruit newly qualified nurses and midwives and to retain existing nurses. Actions will be focused on priority areas. In several areas, IJBs are working flexibly with care homes to ensure registered nursing input is available to their residents. The Chief Nursing Officer’s Transforming Roles programme is helping to develop nursing roles to meet the current and future needs of Scotland’s health and care system. As part of this work the Scottish Government has recommended that NHS Boards and IJBs develop locality integrated community nursing teams that enable nurses, social care, allied health professionals and other partners to improve outcomes and services for those requiring community care. In addition, work is in progress to support care homes as a positive learning environment for student nurses, and an attractive career choice for qualified staff and those returning to nursing after a career break. The Chief Nursing Officer’s Nursing 2030 Vision recognises the importance of attracting individuals into careers in nursing, including within care home settings. Workforce issues, including those in respect of nurses in care homes, are also being considered as part of the work on reform of the National Care Home Contract.

87. In order to help address this issue, the work developed under Recommendation 5 above to promote social care as a career choice will need to reflect the importance of nursing, allied health and other health professionals in social care. Linkages will also be needed to other work in progress to address recruitment issues in these areas, including that highlighted above and work arising from the recommendations of the Chief Nursing Officer’s Commission on Widening Participation in Nursing and Midwifery Careers, published on 7 December 2017.

Career pathways and progression

88. One of the factors that have been identified as important for recruitment and retention in the sector is that career pathways in the sector, with opportunities for career progression, are perceived to be limited [28] . This document has highlighted the need to build and assist with flexible career pathways which give personal job satisfaction while supporting the retention of staff. Recommendation 6 below seeks to address this priority by developing clear routes for career progression within social care, routes for social care workers to progress to social work, routes that facilitate movement of staff across health and social care, and further enhancement of entry routes and pathways into the sector, that builds on current initiatives such as Modern and Foundation Apprenticeships.

89. Regulation of the social services workforce by the SSSC, along with regulation of services by the Care Inspectorate, is structured around the definitions of care services and social work contained within the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010. Both the SSSC and Care Inspectorate work widely with stakeholders in considering how regulatory approaches need to evolve in response to developments in policy and practice. Examples of recent change include the new, outcome-based, Health and Social Care Standards, which will form the basis of Care Inspectorate inspection; and the move to a Fitness to Practise model of regulation by the SSSC.

90. Current legislative arrangements for the registration categories for social services and the social services workforce can be perceived as a barrier to movement between roles. While there are specific qualifications required to register for different roles within the sector, movement of workers between different roles is facilitated by recognition of prior learning in previous roles and credit transfers from qualifications already attained.

91. It is clear, however, that with integration of health and social care, changing roles within the workforce, the need for greater flexibility and the move to multidisciplinary team working, further consideration of the current definitions of services and roles may be useful in ensuring approaches that lead to high-quality care and support innovative models of care. Recommendation 6 will address this issue by ensuring that regulators are empowered to respond to changing needs and demands upon the workforce and to enable and support recruitment, flexible career progression and more innovation in service delivery.

Recommendation 6: Career pathways

  • To develop proposals for enhanced career pathways within social care, recognising the context of the developing multidisciplinary, integrated workforce environment. The third and independent sectors, as employers of the great majority of the social care workforce will be essential partners in this work. Consideration will be given to:
    • improving entry routes and pathways into the sector, recognising current progress and initiatives such as Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships;
    • exploring how career pathways between health and social care can be further developed;
    • work being developed under Part 1 of the National Workforce Plan such as a review of learner and student support across the health and social care workforce and promotion of careers in schools.
  • To work with workforce and service regulators to ensure they are empowered to enable and support recruitment, career progression and flexibility in the workforce of the future, including through categories of registration.

Skill gaps/shortages in the social care workforce

92. The SSSC has recently reviewed skills challenges for the social services sector, considering both current and future skill gaps and shortages [29] . Key skills shortages and gaps included:

  • Leadership and management
  • Dealing with conflict
  • Understanding and knowledge of specific conditions and illnesses such as dementia.

93. Specific skills shortages have also been identified in this and other studies that are relevant to particular types of service. Some examples include:

  • In delivery of Self-directed Support ( SDS) – personalisation, knowledge of SDS options, principles of outcome-based support [30] ;
  • In adult social care – a range of specialist skills needed for people with complex needs, including health care and preventative care, re-ablement, end of life care.

94. Future skills needs identified included:

  • Increased awareness of complex conditions and needs;
  • Skills in tasks previously done by medical and nursing staff;
  • Knowledge of, and skills for, partnership working with other professions;
  • Skills arising from changes in policy and legislation.

95. There is a significant amount of learning and development activity in the social services sector in Scotland. The requirements for all registered workers to have a minimum level of qualification and to undertake minimum levels of continuing training and learning were outlined earlier in this chapter. SVQs form a significant part of the formal learning for the sector, with many other courses relevant to social care being provided by further education colleges. The registration of support workers in care at home/housing support [31] between October 2017 and October 2020 means that around 44,000 additional workers will be added to the register over this period, with a requirement to have achieved an SVQ2 in Health and Social Care within five years of registration [32] . According to the Workforce Skills Report [33] :

  • In 2015/16 there were 7,553 certifications, up slightly from the previous year (Children and Young People SVQs made up approximately 30% of this figure);
  • In 2015 six of every 100 adult social care workers registered for an Adult Social Care SVQ, while just under five of every 100 achieved an award;
  • The numbers of HNC and HND enrolments have increased in the last year;
  • Workers and providers appear to be positive about their ability to find relevant training courses and awards.

96. Registration of the workforce has been a driver to increase the skills and qualification levels across the sector. The changes highlighted earlier in how services are delivered, in job roles, and in the complexity of tasks, all reinforce the need to continuously update and further develop qualifications to ensure their relevance and enable a flexible, confident and competent workforce. Recommendation 7 below seeks to address this need through developing training and education proposals that will better enable a flexible, confident and competent workforce with relevant and appropriate qualifications. Relevant work is also being delivered under Part 1 of the National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan on support for continuous professional development and exploration of regional curricula with colleges.

Availability of social workers

Social workers

97. The number (and whole time equivalent ( WTE)) of social workers in fieldwork services in local authorities has fluctuated since 2008, but overall has increased by approx. 4% to 5,833 ( WTE of 5,283):

  • Numbers in adult fieldwork services have increased overall by 3% to 1,798
  • Numbers in generic services have increased overall by 7% to 434
  • Numbers in offender services have increased overall by 1.7% to 911
  • Numbers in children’s fieldwork services have increased overall by 5% to 2,690, though numbers fell by 204 between 2015 and 2016.

98. Progression of social care workers into social work while in employment is currently possible through the Open University and this route is used as a ‘grow your own’ approach by some local authorities, in particular those in remote and rural locations. The Open University post-graduate social work qualifying programme offers a further route to social work for graduates employed in social care settings.

99. Entry of social workers to qualifying programmes is not controlled centrally; higher education institutions are responsible for their admissions policies. Admissions to social work training programmes have been on a downward trend over the last five years, with the number of admissions in 2015/16 down by 12% from numbers in 2008/9. Numbers of qualifications have also been falling for the last three years and are expected to fall further, following the downward trend in admissions. This will be closely monitored in case action is required.

100. Local authorities are responsible for ensuring they have enough trained social workers to deliver their statutory responsibilities. There is currently no regular approach to collecting or reporting information on vacancies or developing predictions for demand for social workers at national level.

Mental health officers

101. A mental health officer ( MHO) is a trained mental health social worker who provides a statutory service. Local authorities tend to recruit MHOs from their existing practising social workers and support them to train while in employment. Achieving an MHO award and delivering MHO statutory duties are not necessarily linked to changes in pay and status, though this is up to local discretion. Local authorities are responsible for ensuring they have sufficient MHOs to deliver their statutory responsibilities.

102. In recent years concerns have been raised about difficulties in recruiting MHOs, with around two-thirds of local authorities reporting a shortfall in MHO staff since 2013. The SSSC collects and publishes official statistics on MHOs annually. In 2014, the number of MHOs fell to 655, the lowest since 2005. Numbers increased in the year to 2016, and while the reported shortage of MHOs fell, the shortage at end 2016 was equivalent to 36 full time MHOs [34] . The latest official statistics show that:

  • The number of practicing MHOs increased by 5.4% to 722 between 2015 and 2016 ( WTE increased by 5.7%);
  • After reaching a reported low of 11.2 in 2015 the MHO WTE rate per 100,000 people rose to 11.8 in 2016, similar to levels seen in 2013;
  • For the first time since 2012, the numbers of MHO Award programme completions (62 in 2015-16) was greater than the number leaving their role;
  • The MHO workforce has a slightly older age profile than social workers overall. Just over a third of MHOs are aged 55 years or older.

103. There appear to be a number of challenges contributing to pressures on the delivery of MHO statutory functions. These include an increase in demand for some MHO-specific statutory functions linked to legislative and policy change; insufficient capacity among existing MHOs linked to demands to deliver other social work services, and insufficient numbers of trained and skilled MHOs due to a mix of complex factors such as pay and conditions (which vary between local authorities which have the autonomy to set the pay scales for their staff); numbers training; and MHOs leaving through retirement/other reasons.

104. Action 34 of the Mental Health Strategy commits the Scottish Government to reform of the Adults with Incapacity legislation. Delivery of commitments under this legislation has formed an increasingly significant component of the workload of MHOs.

105. Action 35 of the Mental Health Strategy commits key stakeholders to work in partnership to better understand MHO capacity and demand, and to consider how pressures might be alleviated. Since the launch of the Strategy, publications by the SSSC [35] and Social Work Scotland [36] have provided further insights into this issue. Key factors identified as contributing to pressures included variation in employment terms and deployment, increasing workloads and governance arrangements. Action 35 of the Mental Health Strategy, through development with COSLA and other key partners, will be taken forward further through Recommendation 7 of this plan in 2018. This work aims to increase the numbers of social workers undertaking additional professional qualifications, including the MHO award, and to increase the numbers of qualified specialists, including the numbers of MHOs available to deliver specialist functions.

Social workers with practice learning qualifications ( PLQ(SS)).

106. As part of social work qualifying programmes, students are required to complete two assessed placements that must be assessed by a qualified practice teacher. To qualify as a practice teacher, social workers must obtain one of two possible qualifications located within the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework.

107. The recent Review of Social Work Education identified a shortage of qualified, active practice teachers available to supervise placements for social work students. Qualitative research indicates that a mix of factors is contributing to this shortage [37] . There is currently no national collation or publication of data on numbers of qualified or active practice teachers. The recommendations arising from the Review of Social Work Education include establishing a clear approach to address challenges in practice learning and this will need to include consideration of supply and demand for practice teachers.

108. Recommendation 7 seeks to address the issues outlined above in relation to social worker availability across a range of specialisms through providing a clearer professional framework for social work professionals, with appropriate advanced practitioner qualifications to help provide routes into more senior positions. Work will include consideration of the benefits of developing advanced practitioner qualifications in children’s, adults and criminal justice social work. Such a framework could provide nationally recognised routes for further development of specialist skills, reward attainment of specialist qualifications and facilitate retention of skilled practitioners in areas of the profession where they are needed. A specific aim of this change would be to increase the numbers of social workers undertaking additional professional qualifications, including the MHO and practice teaching awards, and to increase the numbers of qualified specialists available to deliver these specialist roles.

Recommendation 7: Training and education

  • To develop training and education proposals that will better enable a flexible, confident and competent workforce with relevant and appropriate qualifications.
  • To develop a professional framework for practice in social care and social work, including in advanced practice. This work will take into consideration:
    • the national qualification structure of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework ( SCQF);
    • the recent Review of Social Work Education;
    • work in progress to support the workforce in implementing the new Health and Social Care Standards.



Back to top