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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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.
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:
The majority of our reports are published on an annual basis, and supporting tables and charts are also updated annually.
Staff vacancies in care services 2021 - In November 2022 the Care Inspectorate and the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) published new figures on the levels of staff vacancies in Scotland’s care services.
The Adults' Services Workforce 2021 tables - In November 2022 we published the Adults' Services Workforce 2021 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.
The Interactive Social worker Data Tool 2021 was publisjed in October 2022.This file allows you to interactively investigate data on practising social workers employed by local authorities. Guidance and background notes are included within the file.
The Local Authority Post Types 2021 tables (allowing you to interactively investigate the Local Authority Post Types data) were published in October 2022.
The Workforce Data Report - In August 2022 we published the 2021 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 2021. 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.
The Mental Health Officers time series data which shows data from the above reports from the Mental Health Officers report from 2005 onwards was updated in August 2022.
In August 2022 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).
The SVQ tables - In August 2022 we published The SVQ tables which 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
The Children's Services Workforce 2020 tables - On In July 2022 we published the Children's Services Workforce 2020 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.
The Residential child care report - In June 2022 we published The Residential child care report which provides an examination of trends within residential child care from 2010 to 2020 looking at changes not just in the workforce but also in services, providers and children in care.
The Detailed Workforce information - The Detailed workforce information is a spreadsheet providing more details than the Workforce Data Report allowing interrogation of the data in detail at a local authority area level
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
What we are working on now
After the publication of the Annual Workforce Data report we work on all other subsets of this data and associated tables.
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: