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Safe Staffing Programme

Are you ready for the implementation of the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019 in April 2024? 

Let us know by completing our short poll.

Welcome to the Safe Staffing Programme. This area contains information about our team, our work and the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019 (HCSSA). You can also find links to useful learning resources and guidance.

Most importantly you can find here information about upcoming events, consultations and how to get in touch with us.

You can also sign up to our mailing list by clicking the button below. 

The Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act was passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2019. The work was paused to allow everyone to focus efforts on the Covid-19 pandemic. The Act will now come into force on 1 April 2024. The Act is applicable to all health and care staff in Scotland. The Cabinet Secretary has published a timeline for the implementation of the Act which you can find here.

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Who we are and what we do

The Safe Staffing Programme team works in collaboration with service providers, people who experience care, relatives, representation groups and other key stakeholders.

Our vision: To achieve that care services in Scotland have the right people, in the right place, with the right skills at the right time working to ensure people experience the best health and care outcomes. 

Our current objectives:

  • Increase engagement with the entire social care sector, Care Inspectorate staff, HSCPs, health boards, people experiencing care and those important to them.
  • Review our existing guidance and agree a range of core resources to prepare the sector for enactment.
  • Work with stakeholders to contribute to the development of learning resources about workload and workforce planning.
  • Collaborate with the social care sector to make recommendations about staffing tool development options for social care.
  • Collaborate with the adult care home sector to further develop a staffing method framework which assists the assessment and decision-making about workload and workforce planning.
  • Work with volunteer Health and Social Care Partnership and local authority commissioners to test the relevant guidance chapters of the Act.

Our responsibilities in the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019 are: 

To develop (and recommend to the Scottish Ministers) staffing methods for care home services for adults, and, if specified by ministers, other types of services.

As part of developing staffing methods, we must collaborate with Ministers and a variety of organisations, including Healthcare Improvement Scotland, the Scottish Social Services Council, every Health Board, every local authority, every integration authority. Also included are representatives of providers, service users, trade unions and professional bodies. Our collaboration must take into account any guidance issued by Ministers and the guiding principles for health and care staffing set out in section 1 of the HCSSA.

The Team:

Our Programme Lead is Stephanie Thom.

Our safe staffing advisors are Joanne Duncan, Candice Aitken, Helen Honore, Tom Bohlke, Gloria McLaughlin and Melissa Cook.

Our team is made up of experienced professionals with a variety of backgrounds, including adult social care, early learning and children and young people, as well as experience in management and leading improvement.

Previous work and achievements:

Safe Staffing Programme: End of year report 2022-23

This report provides an overview of the work undertaken by the team from 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023:


Current Staffing Legislation until 1 April 2024

The Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (Requirements for Care Services) Regulations 2011

Currently, Regulation 15 of the Public Services Reform Act 2010 is the legislation that care service providers should be working within, in terms of staffing. The legislation states that: 

A provider must, having regard to the size and nature of the care service, the statement of aims and objectives and the number and needs of service users

(a) ensure that at all times suitably qualified and competent persons are working in the care service in such numbers as are appropriate for the health, welfare and safety of service users; and 

(b) ensure that persons employed in the provision of the care service receive —  

(i) training appropriate to the work they are to perform; and  

(ii) suitable assistance, including time off work, for the purpose of obtaining further qualifications appropriate to such work.  

Regulation 15 will be withdrawn on 1 April 2024.

From 1 April 2024 the new Health and care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019 will come into force.

When enacted the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019 will revoke Regulation 15 and bring into legislation requirements and guiding principles for those who commission and deliver health and social care. It states that staffing is to provide safe and high-quality services and to ensure the best health care or care outcomes for people experiencing care. While this is the main purpose, health and care services should promote an efficient, effective and multidisciplinary approach which is open with and supportive of staff.  

The Act also places a statutory duty on care service providers to ensure that, at all times, suitable qualified and competent individuals are working in such numbers as are appropriate for the health, wellbeing and safety of people using the service, and the provision of safe and high-quality care and in so far as it affects those matters the wellbeing of staff. Providers are also required to ensure staff are appropriately trained for the work they perform.   You can view a video on the act here.

Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010

The Public Services Reform Act includes the list of services to which The Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019 will apply. It also contains the duties on care service providers with regard to registration of care services.

A new chapter (chapter 3A) will be inserted into Public Services Reform Act 2010 with regard to prescribed staffing methods and staffing tools.

Learning resources and guidance

These resources and supporting documents are for care providers about the Health and Care (Staffing) Scotland Act 2019.

  • Knowledge and Skills Framework:  Working with key stakeholders, we contributed to the development of this knowledge and skills framework for staffing. 
  • Scottish Social Care Workforce Planning:  LinkedIn community group for workforce related developments and events within the sector

 Safe Staffing Programme Open Badge

We have introduced a new Open Badge award for safe and effective staffing.

An Open Badge is a digital certificate which recognises learning and achievement. This is awarded to people who read, understand and apply the learning from the materials and resources on The Hub’s Safe Staffing Programme area.

The badge was developed in direct response to social care sector interest and can be accessed on the SSSC Open Badge website.

There are four hours of learning with four different outcomes:

  • knowledge of the Health and Care (Staffing)(Scotland) Act 2019 and the guiding principles and duties.
    • knowledge and understanding of the Care Inspectorate’s Safe staffing programme.
    • knowledge on how the legislation applies to your care setting.
    • knowledge at an informed level of the fundamentals of health and care staffing, workload and workforce planning, managing and using workload and workforce data and quality assurance and governance.

Once complete, you can submit evidence of your learning and applications that have met the criteria will be awarded the badge.

Quality Improvement Zone e-learning on the Turas website

These learning resources are not directly related to staffing but will help to manage any necessary changes to practice.


There are a number of guidance documents that can support the overall assessment of staffing, including:


Current and upcoming events


The Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019 webinar series for adult care services

To support the adults care sector to get ready for the enactment, we are delivering a series of webinars over the next few months. See the table below for further information and how to register. 

We will also be hosting regional in- person events near you, so please watch out for further information.

If you need more information about the Act or our webinar email and speak to one of our safe staffing advisers. 

  • Thomas Bohlke Safe Staffing Adviser (Adults)
  • Gloria McLoughlin – Safe Staffing Adviser (Adults)
  • Helen Honore – Safe Staffing Adviser (Adults)

To find out more information about each of the webinars and to register to attend, please click on the link below. 

Register for the webinar series here

Programme team webinar series for ELC services 

Within the early learning and childcare (ELC) sector, the Act places duties on care service providers for daycare of children services and childminders. This webinar series will be relevant to anyone working in the ELC sector, such as staff, managers, and senior management teams. 

Find out more about these sessions and register to attend here.

Regional countdown events across Scotland

Our Safe Staffing Programme invite you to register for one of our regional countdown events on the implementation of  the Health and Care Staffing Scotland Act 2019 being enacted on 1 April 2024.

Each session will last two hours and will give you the opportunity to learn more about the Health and Care Staffing Scotland Act 2019. 

Please see details below for venue, dates and start times for your service type.

Tea and coffee will be provided.

Find our more about these sessions and register to attend. 


Get involved

There are a number of ways you can get involved with our programme.  

 Mailing List:

Contact us:

Email us directly at: if you would like to get involved with the programme or if you need any further information.  

Safe staffing programme: Information for adults services

Supporting the adults care sector to prepare for enactment of the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019.

Safe Staffing: Information for children and young people's services

Supporting the children's and young people's sector to prepare for enactment of the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019

Safe Staffing: Information for ELC Services

Supporting the early learning and childcare (ELC) sector to prepare for enactment of the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019

Webinar:  April 2023

In April, the programme team held a webinar to inform care services about the implementation of the legislation and what they should expect.  Attendees were invited to discuss their concerns and put forward their ideas about staffing to the programme team.  Click on the link below to watch the webinar.

We have also produced a summary of the questions and answers that arose during the webinar.

Guidance webinars (June 2023)

Guidance has been developed to support health and care staff as they deliver the new act. The following webinars, presented by representatives from Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Care Inspectorate and Scottish Government, give an overview of the duties described in each guidance chapter.  Click on the title to watch the webinar. 

Webinar title

1: Guiding principles and ensuring appropriate staffing

    01 June 2023
2: Real-time staffing, risk, clinical leadership and advice
    15 June 2023
3: Healthcare: The common staffing method and the role of Healthcare Improvement Scotland
    22 June 2023
4: Care services: guiding principles, ensuring appropriate staffing and the role of the Care Inspectorate
    29 June 2023