Care Inspectorate guidance for services

Visit our COVID-19 FAQs page for more information.  

You can find older updates on the Archived Updates page.

School age childcare services reopening guidance (Added 3 July)

The Scottish Government has released new guidance to support planning for the wider reopening of school age childcare services in Phase 3 of Scotland’s Routemap.

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate has issued a letter to all childcare providers detailing the guidance.

ELC reopening guidance update (Added 3 July)

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate has issued a letter to all Early Learning and Childcare providers containing an update on reopening guidance.

ELC online sessions to support reopening (Added 3 July)

The Scottish Government and the Care Inspectorate are hosting a series of online support sessions on reopening guidance for the childcare sector.

The Scottish Government has issued a letter to all childcare providers detailing the sessions. 

Care home visiting from 3 July - FAQs (Added 3 July)

On 25 June the Scottish Government published guidance and a plan for the phased return to care home visiting, starting with outdoor visiting on 3 July.

FAQs are now also available through the link above to support these visits. The FAQs will be reviewed and updated as the phased return to visiting progresses.

Visiting care homes for adults and older people (Added 25 June)

Care home residents will be able to receive visitors outside from 3 July, provided their home meets strict criteria, with infection control measures remaining in place.

Cabinet Secretary Jeane Freeman has written a letter to care homes for adults outlining plans and Scottish Government has issued guidance on visiting arrangements.

Care Homes for Older People - Sharing your experiences and learning from COVID-19 (Added 25 June) 

We recognise that this has been a really challenging and difficult time for many people working in social care. Over the coming months, the Care Inspectorate would like to hear directly from you about your experiences. We will be working with a selection of partners across health and social care to learn what we can from how services dealt with the challenges, and how new and innovative practice was quickly put in place with great impact. We will share your experiences with government and senior leaders across health and social care and key partners. This is your opportunity to let us know what these past few months have actually felt like on the frontline and what we can all learn from these experiences.

If you are a manager, carer, senior carer, nurse or have another role working in a care home for older people, we would like to hear to from you. We are planning to arrange telephone calls or Near Me (whatever works best for you) to listen to your experiences. Conversations will last about 45mins.

We are keen to hear your experiences of recent months and we hope that you might also be willing to continue to link in with us to give your thoughts and opinions on a wide range of topics, including how we support services to improve and what changes to adult social care could look like.

This first phase is about engaging with staff in care homes for older people, but we will be expanding this over time to hear from other staff across social care.

Please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested in being involved. We will arrange calls with a selection of people so as to have a representative group from across the country. Please let us know the following:


Role: Manager, carer, senior carer, nurse or other role

Name and address of care home for older people:

Type of Care Home : Independent Sector/Third/Voluntary Sector/Local Authority

Our fortnightly report to the Scottish Parliament (Added 25 June)

Under the duties placed on us by the new Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act, we report to the Scottish Parliament fortnightly on our inspections activity. 

In order to robustly assess the arrangements put in place by care services to respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic, our inspections place a particular focus on infection prevention and control, personal protective equipment and staffing in care settings.  This enables us to focus on these areas while also considering the overall quality of care and people’s wellbeing.  The reports we lay before Parliament are in addition to our normal process of publishing full inspection reports, which we will publish in due course. 

The report laid before the Scottish Parliament on 24 June is here.

Letter to all care home staff from Jeane Freeman (Added 24 June)

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeane Freeman, has issued the following letters to care home staff and care home managers regarding testing staff for Covid-19.

Interim guidance on the use of face masks and face coverings (Added 24 June)

The Scottish Government has released interim guidance on the wider use of face masks and face coverings in health and social care.

Updated reopening guidance for childcare providers (Added 24 June)

Today the First Minister announced that subject to scientific and public health advice that all childcare providers will be able to reopen from 15 July 2020, if they wish to do so.

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate has issued a letter to all childcare providers detailing what this means for them. 

Enriched model of psychological needs (Added 23 June)           

Over the last few weeks, we have heard how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting the mental health of people who use care services, relatives and staff. By isolating or shielding in order to protect ourselves and others, we limit our opportunities to engage with people or activities that are important to us. This can undermine our psychological wellbeing and quality of life.

We have produced a poster which outlines the key elements of the ‘Enriched Model of Psychological Needs’. This can be used within care services to help staff consider what actions they could take to help promote better psychological outcomes for the people who use services, relatives, staff and themselves.  

NHS email addresses available for all care homes (Added 23 June)

The 14 Health Boards across Scotland are to provide up to three NHS email addresses to all care homes (adults, older people and children’s residential services)

The benefits of an NHS email address are:

  • Enables secure communication between the care homes, GP surgeries and other services involved in residents care
  • Allows the secure transfer of patient identifiable information between care homes and health services
  •  Reduces the risk of data loss or breaches through personal data being divulged via fax machines or other less secure communication methods.
  • Enables swift and timely communications between care homes and the NHS.

To get an email address please contact your local helpdesk or named lead. All details can be found here.

Advice from Police Scotland on crime prevention for care homes (Added 23 June)

Following a series of break-ins to care homes Police Scotland has produced a helpful guide on simple measures you can take to protect your property. 

End to staffing shortage notification (Added 22 June)

The Care Inspectorate no longer requires care services to submit notifications around staffing issues under the Red Amber Green (RAG) system. 

This notification was brought in April to assist care services to flag up where there were particular staffing shortages and allowed the Care Inspectorate, SSSC, Health and Social Care Partnerships, the NHS and Scottish Government to provide a rapid response. 

Our intelligence and data gathered in the past month indicates that care services now have good access to staffing resources directly as required, and as such we are now removing the obligation on care services to report staffing issues to us.

Any services that do experience staffing issues going forward can still access the SSSC NES portal here.

Registration and variations to registration (updated 18 June)

We have received a number of enquiries regarding early learning and child care and out of school care provision for over the summer holidays and beyond. The following guidance will support providers when considering these proposals: Coronvirus (COVID-19) – intermediate response – Guidance for the Care Inspectorate registration team.

COVID-19 guides for social service workers (Added 17 June)

The Scottish Social Services Council have produced a range of 'bite-size' resources to support those working in healthcare during COVID-19. 

There are currently 9 guides that range from "key measures for infection prevention and control" to "support with death, dying and bereavement." 

Updated phase 1 guidance for fully outdoor childcare providers (Added 17 June)

The Scottish Government have released updated guidance for the reopening of fully outdoor childcare providers.

To support this a letter explaining the update has been issued by the Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate. 

New guidance to support planning for wider reopening of ELC Services (Added 15 June)

Today the Scottish Government published new guidance for the safe reopening of early learning and childcare (ELC) services in Phase 3 of Scotland’s Routemap.

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate has issued a letter to all childcare providers outlining what this guidance will mean for them.

We are now rolling out Near Me to adult residential services (Added 15 June)

Following our successful roll out of Near Me video consulting in care homes for older people and those for children and young people, we are now in the process of contacting care homes for adults to provide support in using it.

 Near Me is a video consulting service that enables people to have health and social care appointments from home or wherever is convenient. All you need is a device for making video calls like a smartphone and an internet connection. Near Me is a secure form of video consulting approved for use by the Scottish Government and NHS Scotland.

 Residential services for adults may need to support the people they care for to take part in video consultation with a GP, an outpatient appointment or talk to an out of hours service. It is important that staff are trained and confident to help people successfully access remote consultations and appointments.

 We hope to contact over 250 services across Scotland to give information and offer a practice call using Near Me. Our initial contact will be by telephone, which will be followed up by email and a video call. 

New key question for care home inspections (Added 10 June) 

In order to robustly assess care home arrangements to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, our inspections are placing particular focus on infection prevention and control, personal protective equipment and staffing in care settings. 

We have developed Key Question 7 to augment  our quality framework for care homes for older people and our quality framework for care homes for adults.  We have done this to meet the duties placed on us by the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No. 2) Act and subsequent guidance that we must evaluate (grade) infection prevention and control and staffing.  

This means we will carry out targeted inspections that are short, focused and carried out with colleagues from Health Improvement Scotland and Health Protection Scotland, to assess care and support for people experiencing care and support during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to put the wellbeing for people experiencing care at the heart of our inspections.  

ELC COVID-19 Update for June 2020 (Added 10 June) 

The Scottish Government has published the Early Learning and Childcare Covid-19 Update for June. This update provides guidance for childminder and childcare services who are considering reopening during phase 1 of the route map.

Advice from Police Scotland on crime prevention for care homes (Added 5 June)

Following a series of break-ins to care homes resulting in the theft of safes, Police Scotland has produced a helpful guide on simple measures you can take to protect your property. We are pleased to share it with you here.

Further information

Information is available on the NHS Inform website. The key messages for Scotland are:   

  • As part of the Scotland-wide, coordinated response to coronavirus, NHS 24 provides the most up to date information and advice here.  
  • NHS 24 has also set up a dedicated helpline for people who do not have coronavirus symptoms but are seeking information. The helpline number is 0800 028 2816 and is available Monday to Friday, 0800 to 1000, Saturday and Sunday, 0900 to 1700. 
  • People who have travelled to an affected area and have symptoms of a cough, fever or difficulty breathing should stay at home and phone their GP (family doctor), or call NHS 24 on 111 if their GP surgery is closed.
  • People with general questions are advised to visit in the first instance. This is the quickest and easiest way to get information and it also means that the 111 service is able to help those people with more immediate clinical need. NHSinform includes an interactive self-help guide where people can answer a few simple questions on line to assess whether they need to seek further help or advice by telephone.
  • There is a communications toolkit with information for health and care settings to download, share and print  – please be aware that this is updated as the situation develops so should be checked frequently. Please use the latest version in your setting and update if required. 

NHS 24 has active Twitter, Facebook and Instagram channels that are the official social feeds for Coronavirus in Scotland. You can follow these from the links below. 

Health Protection Scotland has also produced information and guidance which should be useful and this is updated at regular intervals.

The Scottish Government summary of response arrangements for coronavirus in Scotland can be found here.   

Other guidance

NHS Inform has published guidance leaflets and posters in a variety of different languages and easy-read format. You can download these from their website here