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Safe staffing programme

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. 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.

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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 Candice Aitken, 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:


On 1 April 2024 the new Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019 came into force.

The Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Act 2019 brings 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
  • 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. 

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:


Get involved

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

Mailing List:

Sign up to our mailing list to receive regular information from the programme team. 

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