Scottish Social Services Workforce Data
The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) has responsibility for publishing data and intelligence on the social service (as defined by the Public Service Reform Scotland Act 2010) workforce in Scotland. The aim of our work is to produce data and intelligence which supports planning and policy implementation by Government as well as by other national bodies, local commissioners and employers. The broad outline of our role is set out below:
The SSSC undertakes one main workforce data collection annually. This is a survey of local authority social work services (LASWS) conducted each December. This gathers data on those working in local authority social work services which are not registered care services, as defined under the Public Service Reform Scotland Act 2010 (PSRSA2010). The LASWS survey includes a special collection of data on people employed as Mental Health Officers (MHOs) within local authorities .
In addition to the LASWS survey the SSSC also has a Data Processing Agreement and a Data Sharing Agreement with the Care Inspectorate to access the workforce data they gather annually from all registered care services in Scotland. This arrangement avoids the need for the SSSC and CI to both gather data from care services and so reduces the burden on them.
The data collected in the LASWS survey is combined with workforce data collected by the Care Inspectorate from all registered care services to create the annual Scottish Social Services Workforce Data report (this is an Official Statistics publication). The data collected in the LASWS survey on MHOs is published as the Mental Health Officer's report (this is a National Statistics publication).
Official Statistics and National Statistics
In June 2012 the Scottish Parliament approved a motion to make the SSSC's annual report on the sector's workforce an Official Statistics (OS) publication. Around the same time the SSSC took over responsibility from Scottish Government for the annual survey and report on Mental Health Officers (MHOs) in Scotland, which has been a National Statistics (NS) publication.
Further information on the implications for the SSSC of being an OS and NS producer can be found here.
In addition to the above workforce data publications the SSSC also publish a number of other workforce reports and data sets These include:
There is also a part of the workforce data website where site users can engage with some of the data underpinning the above publications to create their own charts and tables: https://data.sssc.uk.com/component/ssscvisualisations/local-level-data
We also publish quarterly updates on the numbers of registrations on the SSSC register including the proportions with a qualification condition on their registration.
Data for other parts of the UK
Historically, social work and other social services in Scotland have not been joined up with social services in other parts of the UK. The footprint and structure of social services differed across all four nations throughout the 20th century predating the devolution of the late 1990s.
If you are looking for data on the other three nations of the UK there are a range of bodies that may be able to help you depending on the nature of your query. We do not make much use of data on the rest of the UK so the information below may not be fully up to date.
a) Skills for Care publish data on adult social services and you can visit their website here: https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/Home.aspx
b) We understand that the Department for Education in England publishes annual data on social workers in children’s services.
a) In Northern Ireland social services have been part of the NHS since the early-1970’s and data on the public sector workforce can be found here: https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/topics/dhssps-statistics-and-research/workforce-statistics
b) The Northern Ireland Social Care Council – also publish data on those social service staff registered with them and can be found here: https://niscc.info/
a) Data on the social service workforce is published by Social Care Wales here: https://socialcare.wales/research-and-data/workforce-reports
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This information does not cover links within this site pointing to other websites. We encourage you to read the privacy statements on the other websites you visit.
Giving us feedback
The information you provide when responding to the survey on this site is used to help us to improve our service to you. Each month, we download the data to Microsoft Private Cloud via SharePoint and delete it from the data site. We retain the downloaded data permanently in line with the retention schedule provisions for performance reports which are detailed here. For most respondents no personal information is gathered or stored by the survey or this site. If you choose to leave personal information, for example as part of a free-text response, the legal basis for the SSSC holding this information is consent, which you may withdraw at any time. The exception to the non-gathering of personal information applies only to the small number of data site users who may log into the site. If you are logged into the site and complete the survey when logged in then the survey will record your name, email address and the local authority you work in, along with your response to the survey.
(Please note this privacy notice was revised on 12.3.21).
The SSSC makes every effort to ensure that the information published on its website is accurate and up-to-date. The information contained on the website does not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be treated as a substitute for such advice.
The website contains links which are not under the control of and are not maintained by the SSSC. The SSSC gives no warranty or representation as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the websites referenced by external link.
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Here is what we've been working on recently:
1) The Staff Vacancies in care services 2020 report - This report provides a national overview of vacancies and recruitment difficulties reported by care services to the Care Inspectorate, the body which registers and inspects all care services. It also includes data on vacancies as a percentage of the total whole time equivalent (WTE) workforce. This joint publication between the Care Inspectorate and the Scottish Social Services Council was published in December 2021.
2) The Workforce Skills Report 2021 - This report looks at the current provision of qualifications for the social work, social care and early years workforce, demand for qualifications and how they meet current skills needs. It also looks at barriers to undertaking qualifications and what new skills are needed for the future. This report was published in October 2021
3) Detailed Data Publications - We have published a number of detailed data files that allow you to explore our data in greater detail. These are:
4) The Adults' Services Workforce 2020 tables - In September 2021 we published the Adults' Services Workforce 2020 tables. These tables look in detail at the Adults' Services Workforce in Scotland and supplements the information published in the 2020 Workforce Data Report. The tables give an overview which includes all adults' services sub-sectors. They focus in detail on the two most prominent sub-sectors: care homes for adults and housing support/care at home.
5) The Workforce Data Report - In August 2021 we published the 2020 Workforce Data Report. The report combines administrative data from the Care Inspectorate with data collected by the SSSC directly from local authorities to form a comprehensive picture of the paid workforce employed in the social service sector in Scotland at the end of 2020. This report provides an overview of the data at a national level and, where possible, also provides data sub-divided by sub-sector or local authority area. It includes information on:
- The workforce size and the whole time equivalent (WTE) measure of the workforce.
- The stability index of the workforce (what percentage of people are in the same post as the previous year).
- The employer types (Public, Private and Voluntary) and the percentages of each in local authority areas.
- The age and gender of workers in different roles and areas.
6) The Mental Health Officers Report - In August 2021 we published the Mental Health Officers Report. This report presents information on:
- The number of practising MHOs.
- MHO trainees, leavers, vacancies and staffing shortfalls.
- The average hours worked by MHOs
- Key characteristics of the MHO workforce (age, gender).
We also updated the associated MHO time series data.
7) 2019-2021 SVQ Tables - In July 2021 we published the 2019/21 SVQ Tables. These tables provide SVQ provision data separately for Social Services and Healthcare (primarily Adult services) and Children and Young People frameworks as well as the proportion of SVQ activity made up by Modern Apprenticeships (MAs) in Scotland. As well as the 2019-21 data, these tables also show historic data (2016-17 onwards).
8) The Children's Services Workforce 2019 tables - On the 19th March 2021 we published the Children's Services Workforce 2019 tables. These tables look in details at the Children's Services Workforce and includes information on:
- The Employer Types (Public, Private and Voluntary) and the percentage of each in the service type.
- The age and gender of workers in various roles within each service type.
- The percentage of staff by in each job function (Auxiliary, Care or Manager) in each service type.
9) Ad Hoc Data requests - Covid 19 - We have been providing information on request to organisations who require it in order to help them deal with the Covid 19 Pandemic.
10) Provisional Official Statistics on the social service workforce 2019 - In May 2020 we published the Provisional Official Statistics on the social service workforce 2019 This is the first occasion that the SSSC has published provisional Official Statistics and we have done this to support planning for registered care services and local authority social work services in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
11) Data website upgrade – After reviewing the site in the light of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Open Data and integration, we further developed our data website. We enhanced the “Explore the Data” section by extending the data available and improving how it can be shaped and presented.
Here is what we've been working on recently:
1) Workforce Data Report – On 29th August 2018 we published the 2017 Workforce Data Report. This report gives a comprehensive picture of the paid workforce employed in the social service sector in Scotland at the end of 2017. The data published includes information on:
• The workforce size and the whole time equivalent (WTE) measure of the workforce.
• The stability index of the workforce (what percentage of people are in the same post as the previous year).
• The employer types (Public, Private and Voluntary) and the percentages of each in local authority areas.
• The age and gender of workers in different roles and areas.
2) Mental Health Officers report - On 31st August 2018 we published the 2017 Mental Health Officers Report. This is the sixth statistical report on Mental Health Officers (MHOs) in Scotland to be produced by the SSSC. The data published includes information on:
• The number of practising MHOs.
• MHO trainees, leavers, vacancies and staffing shortfalls.
• The average hours worked by MHOs
3) Integration – Mike Docherty attends a sub-group of the National Workforce Planning Forum made up of representatives from NHS Scotland, Scottish Government and the SSSC. The aim of the forum is to facilitate and support the integration of health and social care workforce planning.
Part 1 of the National Workforce Plan covering NHS Scotland was published in June 2017 (available at: https://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/06/1354).
Part 2 of the plan covering Scottish social care was published in December 2017 (available at: https://www.gov.scot/Publications/2017/12/2984).
Part 3 of the plan covering Scottish primary care was published in April 2018 (available at: https://beta.gov.scot/publications/national-health-social-care-workforce-plan-part-3-improving-workforce).
As part of the initiative to integrate health and social care workforce planning, NHS Education for Scotland (NES) are co-ordinating the creation of an online cross-sectoral workforce data platform. This ambitious project will face challenges with data comparability and governance. More information on this will be provided as it becomes available.
4) Detailed Data Publications - We have published a number of detailed data files that allow you to explore our data in greater detail. These are:
Here is what we'll be working on in the coming months:
1) Local Authority Social Work Services (LASWS) 2018 census data collection – The deadline for the submission of the 2018 LASWS data from Scotland’s 32 local authorities is 8th March 2019.
During March, April and May 2019 the submitted data will undergo rigorous checking before being used in the 2018 Workforce Data Report (Official Statistics) and the 2018 MHO Report (National Statistics).
2) Data website upgrade plans – We are currently further developing our data website. We have reviewed the site in the light of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Open Data and integration. We plan to further enhance the “Explore the Data” section by extending the data available and improving how it can be shaped and presented. For example, we wish to provide separate data on Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) within the Day Care of Children sub-sector, provide percentages data in the ‘Compare data’.
3) The Adults' Services Workforce 2017 report and the Children's Services Workforce 2017 report - In January 2019 we intend to publish the above two reports. These reports go into more detail than the 2017 Workforce Data Report about the two services types. The data to be published will include information on:
• The Employer Types (Public, Private and Voluntary) and the percentage of each in the service type.
• The age and gender of workers in various roles within each service type.
• The percentage of staff by in each job function (Auxiliary, Care or Manager) in each service type.
Forthcoming meeting dates: