Our role

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) has responsibility for publishing data and intelligence on the workforce in the social service sector in Scotland. This responsibility was delegated to the SSSC in 2001 by Scottish Ministers under the Regulation of Care Scotland Act 2001.

The social service sector is defined in law (sections 46 to 48 of the Public Service Reform Scotland Act 2010) as consisting of all registered care services and all local authority social work services. Detailed definitions of care services are provided in Schedule 12 of the Act and include:

            - adoption services

            - adult day care

            - care at home

            - care homes for adults

            - day care of childre           

             - fostering services

            - housing support

            - residential child care

            - school care accommodation 

The aim of our work is to produce data and intelligence on the workforce and the services and employers they work for that 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:

Data collection 

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. 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 (CI) 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 two collections are underpinned by a common data set (the core minimum data set) to ensure that the data from the two collections can be meaningfully compared.


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). Details of our publications in 2023/24 can be found here

Official Statistics and National Statistics

In June 2012 the Scottish Parliament approved a motion to make the SSSC a producer of official statistics. 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 is 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:

An annual detailed data set on services in local authority areas.

An annual Vacancy report produced jointly with the Care Inspectorate

Workforce Skills reports

Reports on the uptake of relevant modern apprenticeships, SVQs and HNCs

Annual detailed adults services data

Annual detailed children’s services data

Annual LA post types data set

Annual interactive local authority social worker tool

Annually updated MHO time series

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 which can be found here.

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 and predates the devolution arrangements 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.


  1. Skills for Care publish data on adult social services and you can visit their website here: https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/Home.aspx
  2.  We understand that the Department for Education in England publishes annual data on social workers in children’s services.

 Northern Ireland

  1.  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
  2. 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/


  1.  Data on the social service workforce is published by Social Care Wales here: https://socialcare.wales/research-and-data/workforce-reports