4 Rs: Packed room sees launch of report

Event Report by Paul O'Reilly (Workforce Development Consultant)

On March 15th 2018, Scottish Care launched its report into recruitment, retention, regulation and representation within social care to over 100 attendees – including frontline workers, managers, owners, regulators and government representatives -  at the Glasgow Hilton Hotel.

Katharine Ross, National Workforce Lead for Scottish Care, opened the day highlighting that the report identifies many concerning trends and advising delegates that the programme would be underpinned by a fifth ‘R’ - reality.

Scottish Care’s Policy and Research Manager, and the report’s author, Becca Gatherum next took to the podium.

In launching her report Becca described the research process, explaining that the purpose of the report was to capture the journey that an employee in the independent social care sector travels along from initial engagement to disengaging.  While the journey is of varied distance for individuals, this workshop would seek to follow it by exploring the 4R themes in order – recruitment, representation, regulation, and finally retention.

Recruitment: Attracting the right people for your organisation

Katharine again took to the stage, alongside colleague Paul O’Reilly, to discuss the recruitment findings published in the report.

Along with statistics highlighting that the majority of job applicants are female (84%) and that there has been an increase in the number of applicants aged over 45years (20%), it was noted that 63% of new entrants are leaving their positions within the first six months.

The need to increase the number of younger people and male applicants was covered, before exploration of why so many people are leaving their jobs so soon.

In a session called Right person...Right job? delegates were asked to consider if we are being up-front with candidates about the challenges of the role, and what more can be done to inform people at interview stage before they accept a role as well as through induction to better support and prepare new colleagues.

This generated many interesting and creative ideas from delegates, while the fifth ‘R’ was present in recognising the challenges.

Representation: Understanding the process - and your rights

 Katharine next introduced two speakers -  Grant Brown, Fitness to Practise Manager at SSSC, and Richard Henderson, an Advocate from the Faculty of Advocates.

Grant explained what is meant by ‘fitness to practise’ and where it fits within the Strategic Plan of SSSC, linking to the Codes of Practice.  Following advice on just when someone should refer a practitioner to the Fitness to Practise team, Grant bust some myths by carrying out an exercise with some True or False statements.

Representation at hearings was explored by Richard, with him explaining the process and what to expect.  This included some background information and terminology, who sits on a panel and what they can decide, and who can represent a worker should they be called before it. 

Regulation: Exploring the reality and potential of working in a regulated social care sector

Ann McSorley, Qualifications & Standards Manager at SSSC, was introduced to discuss regulation and registration of the social care workforce.

Ann explained how qualifications have developed, qualification requirements and how Modern Apprenticeships are a useful tool in achieving these before sharing links to useful recruitment and learning & development resources.

There then followed what for many was the highlight of the day – a panel discussion with three frontline workers, led by Katharine.

Pauline Cumming (Activities Coordinator with Balhousie Care), Dean McMillan (Quality Officer and Supervisor with Carewatch) and Joanne Bilsland (Support Supervisor with Bluebird Care) discussed their individual career journey, their thoughts on SVQ, what needs to change for frontline workers if a career in care is to be more widely viewed as a positive career choice and what they love about their job.

The compassion of the panel, as well as their passion for the work and those they care for, was well received by the room. 

Joanne had the final word on what she loves about her job, saying ‘I get to learn more about Life by providing End of Life care.  I get to see humanity at its best, I get to witness touching family moments.  I get to hold people up when they are struggling to live with their health conditions and I get to hold their hands when they are frightened and alone.  I'm helping people to cope with very challenging circumstances and that gives me a huge amount of satisfaction.’

Retention: Retaining a skilled and compassionate workforce

The final session of the day was led by Scottish Care CEO Dr. Donald Macaskill.

Donald explained that we cannot stop employees from leaving until we have a plan to make them stay before asking delegates to spend some time thinking about their current role and what makes them stay, as well as a job that they may have left and the reasons for this.

A series of slides exploring employee satisfaction within social care were presented, with Donald closing by explaining that other sectors have learned to improve this by ensuring frontline staff wellbeing, engagement, empowerment and hearing of their voice. 

Social care must do likewise.

Paul O'Reilly

Scottish Care, Workforce Development Consultant.

Scottish Care launches new report highlighting changing picture of social care employment

Scottish Care has released a new report which explores recruitment and retention of individuals working in the care sector.

Read the 4Rs: The open doors of recruitment and retention in social care

The report findings show:

  • Employers have seen an almost 20% increase in those over the age of 45 applying for care vacancies.
  • Providers are operating a wide range of workplace benefits and initiatives to help with the retention of staff, most of which are premised on the importance of giving staff a voice and a sense of value.

However, it also highlights:

  • 63% of staff who have left the sector in the last year did so within the first 6 months of employment, mostly because of mutual unsuitability identified by the employer and employee.
  • Providers believe the lack of responses to advertised care vacancies plus competition with other employers and sectors to be the main reasons for recruitment difficulty.

The report will be launched at an event in Glasgow today (Thurs 15 March) attended by over 100 staff from across the health and social care sector including a number of those working at the front line of care delivery.

Speaking ahead of the launch, CEO of Scottish Care, Dr Donald Macaskill, said:

“Our new research shows the need to consider how we attract people to enter the care sector and to pursue a fulfilling career within it. Whilst more needs to be done through education and careers advice to encourage young people to work in social care, the findings show an increase in older people applying for care jobs so we must also make sure that employment opportunities are suitably flexible and promoted appropriately amongst people of all ages and backgrounds.

“Yet concerningly, we know that a huge number of people are leaving the sector at an early stage of their employment, predominantly because they are not suitable for the work or it wasn’t what they expected it to be. Whilst working in care is undoubtedly challenging, it is also a hugely rewarding and skilled profession with lots of opportunities and we must therefore ensure that there is better awareness of all that comes with a career in care –to better recognise the importance of this profession but also to ensure we have the right people delivering complex care to our loved ones and that we have a sustainable care sector going forward. Without a committed workforce, we won’t have social care services.”

Scottish Care’s National Workforce Lead, Katharine Ross, added:

“A career in care is not the same for everybody but it needs to be available to everybody. This report captures the employment journey of so many committed, dedicated and skilled individuals of different ages, backgrounds and experiences working in care homes and care at home organisations across Scotland.

"However, it also shows the reality facing the care sector:

  • The reality of trying to develop, train, qualify and lead a workforce against a backdrop of task and time commissioning, fifteen minute visits and the persistent denial by policy and decision makers of the true cost of delivering dignified, person led, preventative care and support to older citizens across the country in care homes and care at home organisations.
  • The reality that the potential of health and social care integration is yet to be realised in Scotland and we continue to see the confliction of a health or social care workforce.
  • The reality that a largely unappreciated and undervalued social care workforce, delivering compassionate care to individuals with multiple complex mental and physical illness, is at breaking point.
  • The reality that fewer people are choosing to work within the sector, and more people are leaving.

“Only by acknowledging these realities will we be able to shut the door through which dedicated and skilled individuals are flooding out from, and create conditions where people enter, stay, develop and thrive in the care sector. It is the only way to ensure the development of a rights-based, dignified social care system for the tens of thousands of older people receiving care in their own home, or in a care home.”

Read the report here.

Partnership project centred on human dignity praised by senior health chief

A pilot initiative which has markedly improved the lives of people in some Lanarkshire care homes has been praised by a national health chief.  Last year The Care Home Continence Improvement project set out to improve approaches to continence care.

Professor Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director of Healthcare Quality and Strategy for The Scottish Government, recently met core members of the team during a visit to South Lanarkshire Council’s David Walker Gardens in Rutherglen, one of the care homes where the initiative had been tested.

Professor Leitch said:

“I was hugely impressed by the work piloted by the team. This is ground-breaking and innovative partnership working at its best – centred around human dignity.”

Research has identified incontinence as a risk factor that increases skin damage, infection and falls in older people.

During the visit, Professor Leitch learned how the initiative allowed care home staff to improve the quality of care through better recording of processes and introducing small changes including medication reviews and reducing caffeine intake.  The outcomes of the project – also piloted at Summerlee House in Coatbridge – have led to improvements including a reduction in falls by 65%, urinary infections being halved and skin damage reduced by one third. The project has also significantly reduced the amount of continence pads used at the homes.

Following the visit, Professor Leitch added:

“I’ve had a wonderful experience at David Walker Gardens. I’ve seen the care home, I’ve met the residents, I’ve met the staff. It’s a home- from-home for many people in the local area.  “The exemplary project that’s been piloted here has directly tackled an issue that can be often seen as a taboo. The improvement changes have saved money, markedly reduced the impact of incontinence, including reducing infections and falls.  “Crucially this has also improved people’s lives.” 

The pilot was developed by teams in and North and South Lanarkshire’s Health and Social Care Partnerships, NHS Lanarkshire and NHS National Services Scotland and work is underway to explore rolling the project out across Lanarkshire.

Val de Souza, Director of Health and Social Care, South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership, said:

“This is yet another example of person-focussed, innovative care at the centre of our communities. The recognition this team are getting for their work is well-deserved and is a reflection of their commitment, dedication and unmitigated focus on improving people’s lives.”

Jean Donaldson, Associate Director of Nursing, South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership, explained:

“This project was about small changes making a big difference. As we continue to explore the wider implementation in Lanarkshire, we were delighted to share the details of the approach.”

Alice Macleod, Nurse Advisor with NHS National Services Scotland, added:

“The expertise among all involved in this project has supported care home staff to implement this innovative, quality improvement initiative. We look forward to building on this work and sharing our experience, with the goal of supporting others to make positive changes.” 

You can see Professor Jason Leitch sum up his thoughts on the care home visit in the video below.

General Data Protection Regulation – Guidelines

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Current Data Protection Legislation

Anyone who uses and stores information about people who use their services, suppliers or their workforce must ensure that the data is held in accordance with the Data Protection Act (DPA). This means to:

  • Only keep information for a specific purpose
  • Keep it secure
  • Make sure it is up-to-date
  • Only hold as much as you need for as long as you need it
  • Allow the person or subject that the information is about access on request

Changes to Legislation

The GDPR comes into effect from 25 May 2018 and it is likely that it will affect all of our members.
It follows the same principles as the DPA, but with additional requirements on consent, privacy and access. It includes the following rights:

  • The right to be informed
  • The right of access
  • The right to rectification
  • The right to erasure
  • The right to restrict processing
  • The right to data portability
  • The right to object
  • The right not to be subject to automated decision-making including profiling.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is the UK’s independent body set up to uphold information rights. One of the things they do is to enforce data protection so happen to be the experts on compliance. They are very approachable and have easy-to-read materials available for free, as well as a handy helpline (number below).

They have produced a 12 step guide to preparing for GDPR:


As well as more detailed guidelines which are available here:


Information and support

For further information and support, please contact the ICO directly
ICO Helpline: 0303 123 1113

Share your experiences of staffing in the social care sector

In recent weeks, you may have received an invitation from Ipsos MORI, to take part in a survey of social care providers.   Ipsos MORI is an independent research organisation that has been commissioned to undertake this exercise on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Why should I take part?

As you will be aware, there has been much recent discussion of the sustainability of the social care workforce. To this end, the Scottish Government has commissioned research to identify the scale and nature of the potential recruitment and retention challenges care providers may face now and in the future, including with respect to the UK’s decision to leave the EU. The aim of this project is to understand more about the current role and contribution of non-UK EU workers and related recruitment and retention challenges in the sector. The Scottish Government, and the partners and organisations who plan, commission and provide social care services will be able to use the findings from this survey to inform how they address potential challenges identified through the research.

It is important for you to complete the survey, even if you do not currently employ any non-UK EU workers, as it will help to inform national action to promote social care in Scotland as a career choice.

How do I take part and what is involved?

A representative sample of social care providers in Scotland have been asked to take part in the survey so please look out for the email invitation sent to you.

The survey opened on the 10th of January 2018. If you have not completed the online questionnaire, a member of the Ipsos MORI team will telephone you to give you the opportunity to take part over the phone instead. Please do try and make the time to participate – the more responses Ipsos MORI get, the more accurate and representative a picture they will get of the potential challenges faced by the sector. If you prefer to complete the survey online at your own convenience, the online survey will remain open during this time.

The survey will only take 5 minutes to complete. The questions will cover topics such as the numbers, and types of staff employed at your service, as well as the recruitment and retention of staff.

How will my answers be used?

Your responses will remain confidential. Individual responses will not be shared or published outside Ipsos MORI. It will not be possible to identify individual care services responses from any report or publication. Ipsos MORI will hold all data securely in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation 2018.

Any questions?

If you have any questions or would like any further information regarding the survey, please do not hesitate to contact the Ipsos MORI research team (Sanah Saeed Zubairi or Sara Davidson) on 0808 238 5376 or by email at [email protected].  You can also contact the Project Manager at the Scottish Government, Sasha Maguire on 0131 244 0563.


Thank you very much for your help with this important research.

Highland Care Information & Recruitment Events

Scottish Care have been involved in the organisation of a number of events taking place in the Highlands from 22-26 Jan. The purpose of these events is to promote recruitment and provide information about care.

Recruitment Fayre organiser Julie Fraser, Care at Home Development Officer explains the aims:

“The idea is to provide information about what support and services are available for local residents and how they can be accessed. In addition, we want to show jobseekers that there are considerable opportunities for them to work in their own communities in a flexible way.

“From entry level to more senior positions, these opportunities will include caring jobs from care support workers for people of all ages to domiciliary care jobs caring for people in their own homes.

“Many of these jobs are flexible and can fit around childcare arrangements. In many instances, no qualifications are required and they are open to drivers and non-drivers, with many jobs allowing people to work close to home.

“And there are not just opportunities for jobseekers. There is also considerable scope for volunteers to help out in the care at home sector if people want to put something back into their community.”

To read the full news release on this initiative please click here.

Further details are set out in the leaflet below:

Dementia Champions Programme – accepting applications now

The SSSC is now accepting applications for the ninth cohort of the national Dementia Champions programme.

The Scottish Government are supporting 100 people to take this 5 day professional development course, with 20 places available to social service workers in appropriate roles. It will support participants to achieve knowledge and skills at the Enhanced dementia practice level, as described in Promoting Excellence: a framework for all health and social service staff working with people with dementia, their families and carers (2011).  On completing the course, Dementia Champions have access to a support network to connect them to ongoing professional development opportunities.

Individuals are encouraged to apply if you are:

  • working in a senior role with organisational support to implement both small and large scale change;
  • working in a hospital setting (e.g. hospital based social worker) or at the interface between hospital and community-based support (e.g. member of the Allied Health Professions; professional in care home, care at home or other social care organisation).

The course will begin in March and end in August 2018. Applications from social service workers must reach the SSSC by Friday 16 February 2018.

Email [email protected] to request an application pack.

Food for Life Better Care

Food for Life Better Care is a programme of Soil Association Scotland.  The Soil Association is testing a framework that supports the provision of nutritious, sustainable food and activities that benefit residents, staff and the wider community. 

The programme is exploring how good food can improve the health and wellbeing of older people in care homes.  The programme is focussing on how:

  • Good food can address residents complex nutritional needs and reduce the risk of malnutrition and dehydration
  • Food growing and therapeutic activities provide a more stimulating environment that supports physical and mental health and wellbeing.

The Four R’s event: 15 March 2018

The Four R’s: Exploring recruitment, retention, regulation and representation in the Scottish social care sector

 Thursday 15th March 2018 – 10.00am – 3.30pm

The Hilton Hotel, 1 William Street, Glasgow, G3 8HT

Throughout 2017, recruitment and retention challenges have intensified for care homes and care at home organisations throughout Scotland.  With the demand for adult social services increasing - how can providers best achieve the requirements of the new National Health and Care Standards, meet regulatory and registration qualification requirements and attract and retain a dedicated, compassionate workforce?

This is a practical workshop designed for owners, managers and supervisors working in care homes and care at home organisations, as well as front line workers.  Attendees will learn about new national developments relating to ‘The Four R’s’ and the latest Scottish Care report will be launched. 

Due to the nature of this subject, this is shaping up to be an extremely popular event. We would therefore be very grateful if you could book your place by Wednesday 28th February.  If there is anyone else who you feel would like to attend (either within your organisation or external), please send their contact details to [email protected] and an invitation will be sent to them. 

There is no charge to attend this event.  However for operational reasons we may charge those who have booked and do not attend a fee of £25.00.  If after you have booked you are unable to attend please inform us as soon as possible and at least 48 hours before the event.

Over the coming weeks we will be sharing updates and information about the event on the Scottish Care website www.scottishcare.org and Twitter @scottishcare using the hashtag #C4RE

Please do not hesitate to contact the Workforce Matters team or the Scottish Care office if you have any questions or would like additional information. 

Make sure you also take part in Scottish Care's 4R's survey by Wednesday 31 January