Older lady in care home speaking to a carer with a medicines fridge in the background
Resource Type Policy & Legislation


National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan

The overall aim of the Scottish Government's National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan is to support organisations which provide health and social care services to identify, develop and put in place the workforce they need to deliver safe and sustainable services. The Plan is divided into three parts, covering NHS Scotland, social care and primary care services. 

Part 1 of the National Health and Social Care Workforce Plan, covering NHS Scotland, was published in June 2017. Recommendations in Part 1 are set out across six key areas: Governance; Roles; Data; Recruitment and Retention; Guidance; Student and Post-Graduate Training Intakes. These include the establishment of a new National Workforce Planning group, with representation from across health and social care, to oversee the recommendations within the Plan.

Part 2, published in December 2017, provides a framework for improving workforce planning for social care in Scotland.  The document contains seven key areas of recommendation:

  • Integrated workforce data
  • National and local labour market and workforce analysis
  • Workforce planning guidance for partnership working
  • Workforce planning tools
  • Promoting social care and social care settings more widely as a positive career choice
  • Career pathways
  • Training and education

The Scottish Government has announced plans to launch a national recruitment campaign for social work and social care professionals in 2020. 

Part 3 sets out how primary care services can respond to the changing and growing needs of the population. The Plan looks at how Multidisciplinary Teams will be strengthened to deliver an enhanced and sustainable workforce and how partners will work to ensure that better quality and more timely data is developed to drive effective local and national workforce planning.

Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Bill

The Scottish Government first published its draft proposals for safe and effective staffing in health and social care in 2017. A further paper was published in 2018 to enable further engagement on the development of approaches to safe and effective staffing, building on feedback received as part of the initial consultation. 

Following both consultations, the Health and Care (Staffing) (Scotland) Bill was published in May 2018. The Bill aims to provide a statutory basis for the provision of appropriate staffing in health and care service settings, in order to enable safe and high quality care and improved outcomes for service users. The Bill will place a legal requirement on NHS boards and care services to ensure appropriate numbers of suitably trained staff are in place, irrespective of where care is received. Expected commencement of duties is 2019-20. 

The Bill also includes provision for the Care Inspectorate to work in collaboration with the care sector to develop and validate appropriate staffing methodologies and tools. This will apply to care home settings for adults in the first instance, with powers for ministers to extend this function to other settings in the future.

The Bill was passed by MSPs on 2 May 2019. 

Impact of Leaving the EU on Health and Social Care in Scotland

The UK Government has set out its plans for a future immigration system. The proposals come against the backdrop of the UK’s impending exit from the EU on 29 March. The UK Government plans to introduce a new “single skills-based” immigration system in 2021, ending free movement as the UK leaves the European Union. Given the skill and salary requirements of the new system, there are concerns around how these developments will unfold and what the implications are for the social care environment in Scotland. 

Following the result of the referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union, the Scottish Parliament's Health and Sport Committee launched an inquiry on the impact of leaving the EU on health and social care in Scotland. The inquiry focused on how potential risks could be mitigated and potential opportunities could be realised. In its final report, the Committee warned that without EU workers, the NHS and social care services would be placed under “extreme pressure”.

In June 2018, the Scottish Government published a study on the Contribution of Non-UK EU Workers in the Social Care Workforce in Scotland. The research provide estimates of the number of non-UK EU workers in adult social care and childcare sub-sectors, as well as insights into the roles and contributions of those workers from the perspective of both employers and the workers. The study estimates the percentage of non-UK EU nationals employed within adult social care and childcare in Scotland at 5.6%.

Disclosure (Scotland) Bill

A Bill designed to “deliver a range of positive and proportionate reforms to the disclosure regime in Scotland” has been introduced to Parliament by the Scottish Government. Key provisions in the proposed Disclosure (Scotland) Bill include:

  • reducing four main levels of disclosure (basic, standard, enhanced and PVG) to two (Level 1 and Level 2), with the ten different types of disclosure certificate offered under the current structure reduced to four
  • a mandatory PVG Scheme for people working with vulnerable groups
  • replacing the concept of ‘doing regulated work’ with a list of core activities giving rise to ‘regulated roles’ that trigger mandatory PVG membership
  • providing clarity on disclosure arrangements for individuals directly employing a PVG scheme member, e.g. personal care
  • providing new referral powers for Police Scotland, councils and integration joint boards.

The Scottish Parliament approved the Bill at Stage 1 in January 2020 and the Education and Skills Committee will continue its Stage 2 consideration in early March.

Useful Links

Further Reading

Self-Directed Support Library

A selection of resources that explain what SDS is, people’s stories, assessment and support planning tools as well as resources to influence commissioning and procurement practice to make SDS truly mainstream across Scotland

National recruitment guidance

Guidance in relation to the recruitment of staff working in social care, early education and childcare and social work settings

Health and Social Care Standards

The Health and Social Care Standards set out what we should expect when using health, social care or social work services in Scotland

Latest Adult and Health Bulletin

A weekly bulletin produced by our policy team providing an update on the key developments in adult social care and health

Adult and Health Bulletin: 12 - 18 September 2020

Adult and Health Bulletin: 12 - 18 September 2020

Adult and Health Bulletin: 12 - 18 September 2020

Latest Children and Young People Bulletin

A weekly bulletin produced by our policy team providing an update on the key developments concerning children and young people

Children and Young People Bulletin: 12 - 18 September 2020

Children and Young People Bulletin: 12 - 18 September 2020

Children and Young People Bulletin: 12 - 18 September 2020