Safe Staffing Programme poster for CYP services asking:   Are you ready for the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019

Safe Staffing: Information for CYP services

The safe staffing programme was commissioned by the Scottish Government to support care services to prepare for enactment of The Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019.  This is the first legislation in the UK to set out requirements for both health and care services and will affect legislation that guides the requirements of the services you currently provide.

Enacted on 1 April 2024, the Act is applicable to all health and care staff in Scotland. Statutory guidance has been published alongside the Act. The aims of the Act are to enable safe and high quality care and improved outcomes for those experiencing health care or care services through the provision of appropriate staffing.  This means: 

Having the right people, in the right place, with the right skills, at the right time.

The Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019 is in four parts.

  1. Guiding principles for staffing
  2. Staffing in the NHS
  3. Staffing in care services
  4. General provisions

Part 1 and 3 are applicable to children and young people's services.  You can read more information about these parts in the drop down areas below.

Bitesize video - Part 1: Guiding principles

Part 1, section 1(a) states the main purposes for staffing in health and care services are:

  • to provide safe and high quality services
  • to ensure the best care outcomes for people who use services.

Part 1, section 1(b) states staffing is to be arranged while considering each of the eight principles.

These are: 

  1. Improving standards and outcomes for children and young people
  2. Taking account of every individual's needs, abilities, characteristics and circumstances​
  3. Respecting the dignity and rights of children and young people
  4. Views of staff, and those who experience care are considered
  5. Ensuring the wellbeing of staff
  6. Staffing decisions are openly communicated to everyone
  7. Allocating staff efficiently and effectively
  8. Promoting joined up working with partners, where appropriate


What is meant by “suitably qualified and competent individuals are working in such numbers as are appropriate for…”?  

Statutory guidance chapter : 15.20

 This provision is intended to ensure there are sufficient staff providing care, with the appropriate knowledge, skills and competence to meet the needs of people experiencing care.  

Care service providers should be able to demonstrate clearly that they have considered the levels of practice, training, education, experience and professional regulatory responsibilities of all of the staff within a team providing care.  

What is meant by “the provision of safe and high-quality care”?  

Statutory guidance chapter : 15.22 

 When judging whether or not a service is “safe”, safe does not mean “no-risk”. Depending on the service, safe may not even mean low risk. Risk enablement is important and risks are an inevitable part of most care services. Positive risks, as defined in the Health and Social Care Standards sections 2.24 and 2.25 means making balanced decisions about risks and risk management and recognising that risks to safety are inevitable and can sometimes result in benefits. However, people experiencing care should not be put at unnecessary risk as a result of staffing which fails to provide high-quality care services.  

Provision of high-quality care requires the right people, in the right place, with the right skills at the right time, with the appropriate amount of time available, reflecting individual care needs, to ensure the best care outcomes for those experiencing care.  

High quality care should include consideration of the dignity and respect of the person experiencing care, including respect and promotion for their human rights; compassionate care and support; inclusion in care of those using the service, along with their carers and representatives as appropriate; responsive care which adapts to the needs of the person; and care which improves wellbeing. 

 Documents you may consider: 


Bitesize video - Part 3: Staffing in care services

Part 3 of the Act details the duty on services to ensure appropriate staffing and it sets out expectations for the training of staff.

Staffing is currently covered in legislation by the Scottish Statutory Instruments (SSI) Regulation 15 of The Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (Requirements for Care Services) Regulations 2011.

This will be redacted when the new Act comes into force on 1 April 2024.  

Part 3, section 7 of the new Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019 will replace regulation 15 Part 3 section 7. This section refers to the duty of a care provider to ensure appropriate staffing. 

Part 3, section 8 of the new Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019 will replace regulation 15 Part 3 section 8. This section refers to the training of staff and outlines the duties on the provider to ensure every person working in the service receives:

  • Appropriate training for their work
  • Suitable assistance, including time off work, for obtaining further qualifications appropriate to their job role.

Part 3, section 11 of the new Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019 interprets Part 3, sections 7 to 10 of the Act.  Part 3 section 11 identifies staff who work in care services and states:

  • Any person working for payment
  • Any volunteer
  • Any person working under a contract or apprenticeship (for instance, student).




Bitesize video part 1

Bitesize video part 2


The Promise

Learning resources

Find below some useful resources. 

  • We created a poster to raise awareness of the Act for services and their staff. Please download the poster for CYP services and display in your service.
  • Use Safe Staffing cards sway for a deeper understanding of the Act and the implications for your service. The cards can be used as part of a self-evaluation exercise, to identify strengths and raise awareness for areas for improvement. 
  • We have collated the voice of the sector which we gathered during in person events and webinars. Please find the word cloud for children and young people services which incorporates the 8 main principles. 
  • The See Me video below highlights the importance of stigma in the work place and highlights further resources to support staff wellbeing.

We will be producing a series of quick guides to help you understand your responsibilities towards the Act.  These will be: 

  • Guiding principles
  • Appropriate staffing
  • Staff training and qualifications
  • The wellbeing of staff
  • Local and integrated authorities
  • Scottish government annual report

Get involved

To keep up-to-date with the enactment and to get the most out of our resources, please sign up to our mailing list.

Sign up to our mailing list

You can also email our programme team with any queries you may have.



Useful links

Health and Care (Staffing)(Scotland) Act 2019; A series of six information guides

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