Mental Health Officers (Scotland) Report 2018

16 Aug 2019

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) today published the Mental Health Officers (Scotland) Report 2018.

National Stats LogoThis report carries National Statistics designation and is the seventh statistical report on Mental Health Officers (MHOs) in Scotland to be produced by the SSSC.

The Mental Health Officers (Scotland) Report 2018 presents information on:

  • the number of practising MHOs in post at 3 December 2018, excluding long-term absentees
  • MHO trainees, leavers, vacancies and staffing shortfalls
  • some key aspects of the work carried out by MHOs in Scotland.

Key points from the report are set out below:

• There were 730 filled MHO posts in 2018.

• 84 people left 87 MHO posts during 2018, with 32 of these post holders resigning (over a third of all leavers in 2018).

• There were 13 fewer filled MHO posts in 2018 than in 2017 which is equivalent to a drop of 1.7%.

• More local authorities are reporting an MHO shortfall with 24 from 32 reporting a shortfall.

• The average reported (mean) shortfall was 81.9 hours per week for each local authority that reported one. This is equivalent to 55 full time MHOs across those authorities.

• Local authorities across Scotland reported a total of 22 unfilled exclusive MHO vacancies with 18 MHOs currently unavailable. This is an increase of eight vacancies and five more unavailable MHOs from our 2017 figures of 14 and 13 respectively.

• An increasing proportion of the MHO workforce is aged over 55. In 2014 it was 32% of MHOs, in 2018 this figure had risen to 38%. The average (mean) age of all MHOs is 50. There has also been an increase in MHOs under 40 from 13% in 2014 to 18% in 2018. Correspondingly the percentage of MHOs who fall between these ranges (ages 40 to 54) has decreased.

• The downward trend in the average weekly hours worked per post is continuing. This figure was 17.2 in 2016, 16.1 in 2017 and it decreased further in 2018 to 15.7.

• Since 2016 the number of cover MHOs has decreased. In 2016 there were 99, 76 in 2017 and 71 in 2018.

Download (PDF, 631KB) 

As a National Statistics product, this publication complies with The Pre-Release Access to Official Statistics (Scotland) Order 2008. The list of people who have pre-release access can be found here.

Data Tables and Charts, and blank Survey Template

Copies of the individual tables and charts in the latest report will to be provided below later this week .

The  Mental Health Officer time series data section of the data website is available here. This means the latest data can be viewed as part of the full time series data, some of which goes back to 2005. The tables and charts are available for download in Microsoft Excel (.xlsx) and OpenDocument Spreadsheet (.ods) format, and the data tables in non-proprietary Comma Separated Values (CSV) format, individually and together in a compressed ZIP file. The provision of the data in these formats is intended to facilitate its analysis and re-use. Below you can download the blank survey template used by survey respondents to submit their data for December 2018. Please note that this illustrative blank template is in normal Excel 2010 format (.xlsx); the real template used by local authorities was a macro-enabled worksheet (.xlsm).


Description File type File size (KB)  
Blank Survey Template 2018 (Excel 2010) .xlsx 42.3 Download


Tables and charts from The Mental Health Officers (Scotland) Report 2018


Description File Type File size 109(KB)   
All 2018 Tables and Charts  xlsx 109 Download 
All 2018 Tables zipped CSV   csv  27 Download 
All 2018 Tables and Charts   ods 71 Download
Table 1a: Filled MHO posts and their contracted WTE – 2014-2018  csv  1 Download
Table_1b_Headcount_of_practising_MHOs_2014_to_2018   csv 1 Download
Table 1c: Estimated hours worked on MHO duties and weekly average 2016-18  csv 1 Download
Table 2: Exclusive MHO positions by team category – 2014-2018  csv 1 Download
Table 3: Non-exclusive and cover MHOs by team category – 2018  csv 1 Download 
Table 4: Cover MHOs – 2014-2018  csv 1 Download
Table 5: Local authorities with cover MHOs by number and year  csv 1 Download   
Table 6: Numbers and percentage of males and females in MHO posts 2014-2018  csv 1 Download
Table 7: Percentage (%) of all MHOs by age group – 2014-2018  csv 1 Download
Table 8a: Percentage (%) of men by age group – 2014-2018  csv 1 Download
Table 8b: Percentage (%) of women by age group – 2014-2018  csv 1 Download
Table 9: Ethnicity of MHOs by percentage (%) – 2014-2018  csv 1 Download
Table 10: Admissions to and completions of MHO Award Programmes – 2012-13 to 2018-19  csv 1 Download
Table 11a: MHO leaver numbers by reason for leaving – 2014-2018   csv Download
Table 11b: MHO leaver percentages (%) by reason for leaving – 2014-2018   csv 1 Download
Table 11c: MHOs moving to another local authority as an MHO – 2014-2018   csv 1 Download
Table 12: Unfilled MHO posts and unavailable MHOs – 2014-2018   csv 1 Download
Table 13: MHO staffing shortfalls – 2014-2018  csv 1 Download
Table 14: Staffing shortfalls for specific groups of using services – 2014-2018   csv 1 Download
Table 15: Estimated shortfall – 2016-2018   csv 1 Download
Table 16: The proportion of practising1 social workers who are MHOs -2018   csv 2 Download
Table 17: Filled MHO posts and percentage (%) in mental and non-mental health teams 2014-2018  csv 1 Download
Table 18: Estimated percentage (%) of filled MHO mental health team posts by team type – 2014-2018   csv 1 Download
Table 19: Estimated average weekly hours MHOs in mental health teams spend on MHO work by team type – 2016 - 2018   csv 1 Download
Table 20: Estimated percentage (%) of contracted hours spent on MHO work by MHOs in mental health teams – 2016 - 2018   csv 1 Download
Table 21: Percentage (%) of filled MHO posts by non-mental health teams – 2014-2018   csv 1 Download
Table 22: Estimated average weekly hours each MHO spent on MHO work by type of non-mental health team – 2014-2018   csv Download
Table 23: Estimated percentage share (%) of hours spent on MHO work by MHOs in non-mental health teams by team type – 2014-2018   csv 1 Download
Appendix A – filled MHO posts, hours on MHO work and hours on MHO work per 10,000 population by local authority - 2018   csv 2 Download
Appendix B - filled MHO posts, hours on MHO work and hours on MHO work per 10,000 population by Health Board area – 2018   csv Download
Appendix C – HSCP status of MHOs by local authority   csv Download
Appendix D – Filled MHO post types by local authority - 2018   csv Download
Appendix E – Number of MHOs working in out of hours services by local authority – 2018   csv Download