Scottish social services sector: report on 2008 workforce data

14 Dec 2009

This report brings together data on the social services sector’s workforce from two key sources to provide an up to date picture of those in paid employment in the sector, whether employed by a public, private or voluntary service provider.

In addition to the picture of the current “stock” of workers given by these data sources, data was also obtained from the Office for National Statistics which is examined with a view to understanding the “flow” of the workforce – the extent to which the sector’s workforce is growing, decreasing or remaining constant. It is clear from the latter that the numbers of people employed delivering such services have grown by over 50% in the ten years leading to 2008. However, as the data examined in this report is from 2008 it does not provide any significant indication of the impact of the UK’s financial problems on the sector. A report using data from 2009 is due to be published in April 2010 and this is expected to provide evidence of the impact of the financial difficulties.

The social services sector covers a diverse range of services delivered by a variety of staff with assorted skills. It can be categorised in a number of ways for example it can be broadly split into services to children & young people and services to adults. Adult services could include, care homes, day care, home care, work with older people and with adults who have learning difficulties, physical disabilities or mental health problems. The main component of children’s services is early education and childcare, which encompasses playgroups, crèches, nurseries and child minding. Care homes for children and young people make up another significant element of children’s social services.

The broader context of demographic change and Government initiatives over the last 10-20 years, including Community Care, Supporting People, and the Scottish Childcare strategy have all contributed to increased demand for services and hence a growing workforce.

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