Care Inspectorate guidance for services

Visit our COVID-19 FAQs page for more information.  

You can find older updates on the Archived Updates page.

Webinar: Law 4 Dementia Carers in Scotland: Coming out of Covid? (Added 12 August)

Tide and Age Scotland would like to invite carers of people with dementia to join a webinar on: "Law 4 Dementia Carers: Coming out of Covid?" on Friday 14th August from 4.00 to 5.30 p.m.

The aim of the webinar is to help carers of people living with dementia to understand their legal rights and what the law might mean for them as lockdown (potentially) comes to an end. You can find more information and register for the webinar  here.

Operating an early learning and childcare setting (including out of school care and childminders) during COVID-19 (Updated 12 August)

We have developed ‘Key Question 5’, a self-evaluation resource and tool which asks you to evaluate how well you are supporting children and families during COVID-19. The aim of this resource is to enable settings to gather information and continually evaluate their progress in supporting staff, children and families to have confidence in the provision of ELC by specifically evidencing how they have implemented the national guidance for COVID-19, while ensuring positive outcomes for children. This is the only Key Question we expect ELC providers (including out of school care and childminders) to compete. This key question will sit alongside our Quality Framework for Early Learning and Childcare when this is published later this year (which will include Key Questions 1-4).

We encourage you to complete the ‘self-evaluation tool’. The tool asks you to take account of performance data when evaluating your service.  This will be individual to your service.  It may include how you communicate with families or other settings where there are blended placements. It may also be some examples of evidence which you wish to include within the tool e.g. Supporting evidence of how you have implemented and reviewed the national guidance relevant to your service:

Inspectors will request the completed self-evaluation from providers on a risk and sampling basis. Please do not send this to us until requested. This will not be before 10 August 2020.  However, we may undertake other scrutiny activities in settings before this date. Read more about this here. 

Phased return to visiting in adult care home services (Added 10 August)

On Saturday 8 August, the Scottish Government published updated guidance on the further relaxing of visiting in adult care homes. 

From Monday, 10 August, care home residents will be able to have up to three outdoor visitors from no more than two households provided their home meets strict criteria, with infection control measures remaining in place. 

Care home providers are also be asked to develop plans on how they can safely allow one designated indoor visitor for residents within their homes. These plans, which also must meet certain criteria, are to be submitted and signed off by the relevant health board’s Director of Public Health.

The Scottish Government has issued a letter to every adult care home in Scotland with further details of what this will mean for them which can be found here.

It confirms that care home residents will be able to receive more outdoor visitors from Monday, 10 August. From this date,  care home residents will be able to have up to three outdoor visitors from no more than two households provided their home meets strict criteria, with infection control measures remaining in place. 

Care home providers will also be asked to develop plans on how they can safely allow one designated indoor visitor for residents within their homes. These plans are to be submitted by 24 August and will be signed off by the relevant health board’s Director of Public Health.

Extension of Influenza (flu) vaccination programme to include social care staff (Added 10 August)

The Care Inspectorate, Scottish Care, the Coalition of Care and support Providers in Scotland and the Scottish Social Service Council have issued a joint statement in support of the Scottish Government's decision to extend health board free flu vaccine programmes to include certain social care staff. 

This will include social care staff of all ages who have a direct hands-on care role working in the following settings:

  • Residential care and secure care for children
  • Community care for persons at home (including housing support and care at home services)
  • Care homes for adults

You can read the full statment here.

The end of the period for continuing funded ELC payments to settings which are closed (Added 6 August)

To all registered childcare providers delivering funded ELC. This communication is to provide clarity for the sector that local authorities will no longer be required to make funded hour payments to ELC settings which remain closed from 10 August.

Alzheimer Scotland’s new resources for care homes (Added 5 August)

Alzheimer Scotland has been working to respond to the main concerns expressed by callers to their 24-hour Freephone Dementia Helpline (0808 808 3000) and now have a suite of resources on their website’s Coronavirus Information Hub including podcasts and videos. A specific section provides information and resources for all those supporting people living with dementia in Scotland’s care homes.

ELC COVID-19 Update for August 2020 (Added 5 August)

The Scottish Government has published the Early Learning and Childcare Covid-19 Update for August. 

Update on re-establishment of respite and day care services (Added 4 August)

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, Jeane Freeman, has issued a letter which contains an update on national actions to support local re-establishment of respite and day care services in Scotland. 

The letter also sets out next steps in the wider reopening of adult day centres and residential respite for both children and adults.

Tell Us Once – what to do after someone dies (Added 4 August)

Tell Us Once is a free service that allows citizens to share details of the deceased with relevant government departments, removing the need to engage with each one separately and supply numerous copies of the death certificate.

The service is available in all councils across England, Scotland and Wales and in 2018-19, it was used by over 360,000 people.

Tell Us Once can notify organisations including:

  • DWP State Pension, Universal Credit, Attendance Allowance and so on
  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
  • HM Passport Office
  • Council services such as adult social services, libraries, Blue Badge, concessionary travel, electoral services
  • Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA)
  • Public Sector Pensions: NHS, Teachers, Armed forces and so on.

If you are registering a death with a registrar in your capacity as a care home manager, official informant, next of kin or relative:

  • The registrar will issue you with a unique Tell Us Once service reference number.
  • You can use this reference number to access Tell Us Once on line at gov.uk/tell-us-once or through a dedicated telephony team.
  • A list of What you will need to complete the service to notify Central and Local government departments to stop services, notify Pensions and Benefits, cancel passports and so on is available on gov.uk/tell-us-once
  • The system is easy to use and once completed departments are notified instantly, no need for you to contact them separately via telephone or in writing.

The system is easy to use and once completed departments are notified instantly, no need for you to contact them separately via telephone or in writing.

The Tell Us Once service is the result of partnership working between Central and Local government and aims to help citizens at a time when they need it the most.

If you have any questions about the service or would like to find out more, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

New pharmacy service for care homes (Added 4 August)

A new service that offers consultations and advice for minor illnesses has been launched in all community pharmacies across Scotland. The service is open to those living in care homes and allows care homes and pharmacy teams to work closely together in new ways to support residents. A guidance sheet gives a broad overview of how NHS Pharmacy First Scotland will work in the care home setting and what you will need to do to access the service. We would strongly advise that you also speak with your community pharmacy team(s) to agree further details on how you will work together.

PETAL support for families bereaved by COVID-19 (Added 4 August)

PETAL Support is a Scottish charity that has been supporting people affected by homicide and suicide for over 25 years. During the coronavirus pandemic the service they provide has been extended to support families bereaved by COVID-19.

Cyber Resilience Notice COVID-19 (Added 31 July)

As a result of the significant rise in COVID-19 related scams the Scottish Government Cyber Resilience Unit has been issuing a regular bulletin containing information on cyber security. 

The latest bulletin can be accessed here and contains information on ransomware, telephone scams and fake Zoom video call invitations. 

Registration and variation guidance for our staff (Added 31 July)

To support flexibility and responsiveness to the COVID-19 pandemic, we produced contingency registration and variation guidance for our staff to follow in March 2020. We have recently updated this guidance to reflect that we are now requesting fee payments for all new registration applications, and may, under certain circumstances, carry out a site visit. 

Care home visiting update from the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport (Added 23 July)

Today, the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport has issued a letter, providing an update on Scottish Government planning for care home visiting.

COVID-19 – Scottish Government decision on adult day care services (Added 20 July)

Scottish Government Director for Mental Health and Social Care Donna Bell, has issued a letter about the opening of adult day care services.

Letter to ELC providers (Added 17 July)

Yesterday the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister announced two important updates.

The first is that based on scientific and public health advice, if the virus continues to be supressed, the Scottish Government will be in a position to issue revised guidance on 30 July which eases the requirement for ‘bubbles’ in childcare settings and will allow easing of the current restrictions on blended placements.

The second was to announce funding of £11.2 million for private and third sector childcare providers to help with the costs of reopening.

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate has issued a letter to all childcare providers explaining what these updates mean for them. 

Scams exploiting COVID-19 (Added 17 July)

Scams centred on exploiting COVID-19 have become prevalent in recent months. Everything from government grants and furlough payments, to mortgage holidays and demands for payment of fines, are being targeted by scammers utilising ever more sophisticated methods.

Many scammers are using “phishing” and “smishing” (the term for phishing by SMS/text message) techniques to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details. They do this by disguising themselves as a trustworthy organisation in an email or text message, then by offering refunds or demanding payments, then direct the recipients to enter personal information on a fake website which matches the look and feel of the legitimate site.

Scottish Government’s latest cyber resilience bulletin has details on a number of specific scam to watch out for, along with advice on steps you can take and sources of guidance and help.

Fees update for care service providers: July 2020 (Added 16 July)

The Care Inspectorate and the Scottish Government decided in March 2020 to defer the collection of all continuation of registration fees due by care services until July 2020. This was to support service providers to focus on the immediate Covid-19 crisis.

Following a review, we will be recommencing fee collection with immediate effect for all services except childminding, daycare of children and childcare agency services.  We will confirm the position with these childcare service types by the end of July.

We will begin contacting individual services later today. In the meantime, find out what this means for your service in our fees update.

We will update childminding, daycare of children and childcare agency services once the position with fees due by these services is confirmed and agreed with the Scottish Government. 

Out of school care services: you may need to vary your registration (Added 16 July)

As we move through the Scottish Government’s Routemap to recovery and as the sector reopens, some providers are considering how and where they deliver their services.

Evidence suggests outdoor environments can limit transmission of the COVID-19 coronavirus, and it allows for easier physical distancing between children. We know some services are considering alternative locations, or more outdoor provision.

If you change where or how you deliver your service, you will need to apply to us to vary your registration.

If you are considering providing a wholly outdoor or a satellite setting, there are resources to support you and it is important you access them. The Early Learning and Childcare: Delivering High Quality Play and Learning Environments Outdoors practice note and Out to Play will help you develop and plan safe, nurturing and inspiring outdoor play experiences for children.

If you are thinking about changes, get in touch with us as soon as you can, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We will be happy to discuss your proposal and ahead of your registration or variation application. We take a flexible and proportionate approach to support continued delivery of services that have the health and wellbeing of children at the heart.

The National Wellbeing Hub (Added 15 July)

The National Wellbeing Hub contains resources that will help health and social care staff, carers, volunteers and their families find support to cope with challenges faced during the coronavirus pandemic.

Guidance from Health Protection Scotland on COVID-19 in care homes (Added 14 July)

Health Protection Scotland has published guidance for domiciliary care and PCR testing in care homes and the management of COVID-19 PCR test positive residents and staff.

Move to 4-weekly ordering of test kits from the UK Government Social Care Portal for weekly staff testing (Added 14 July)

Following feedback from care homes, a decision has been made to move to 4-weekly ordering of test kits for the weekly staff testing programme through the UK Government Social Care Portal.  Please note testing of staff should continue on a weekly basis. The change to 4-weekly ordering will be phased in by area as follows.

  • Grampian and Borders from 8 July
  • Ayrshire & Arran, Fife & Western Isles from 15 July
  • Highlands and Lanarkshire, and Tayside, Forth Valley and Shetland from 22 July
  • Glasgow and Greater Clyde, and Dumfries & Galloway, Lothian and Orkney from 29 July

Please note that when placing 4-weekly test kit orders, the number of staff recorded on the system should reflect the number of staff in the care home and enough test kits will be sent for four weeks’ worth of testing.

Updated guidance for childminders (Added 14 July)

From 15 July 2020, childminders who wish to deliver their service can do so in line with their usual operating model.

The Scottish Government has updated its guidance to set this out in detail, and to support childminding settings to operate safely. The guidance includes information on operating conditions, physical distancing and other safety measures, and financial impact and workforce support information.

Letter to all childcare agencies (Added 13 July)

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate has issued a letter to all childcare agencies outlining guidance changes from Phase 3 of Scotland's Route Map.

Guide on person-centred care (Added 10 July)

The Scottish Social Services Council has published a guide on person-centred care as part of its range of “bitesize” resources being developed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The guide contains information on how a rights-based approach is supported by the Health and Social Care Standards.

Letter to ELC providers (Added 10 July)

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate has issued a letter to all childcare providers outlining guidance changes from Phase 3 of Scotland's Route Map. 

Scotland moving from Phase 2 to Phase 3 of the routemap (Added 9 July)

Today in a statement to the Scottish Parliament the First Minister announced that, taking account of the scientific and health advice, Scotland was now in a positon to move from Phase 2 to Phase 3 of the routemap.

For the childcare sector this means that all childcare services can definitely reopen from 15 July, if they wish to do so, and while following published guidance. You can find the First Minister’s full statement here. You can find all the information about the changes in Phase 3 here.

ELC COVID-19 Update for July 2020 (Added 9 July) 

The Scottish Government has published the Early Learning and Childcare Covid-19 Update for July. This update provides guidance for the childcare sector during the easing of lockdown in Scotland. 

Letter to ELC providers (Added 8 July)

The Scottish Government Early Learning and Childcare Directorate has issued a letter to all childcare providers containing an update on plans for the ELC expansion, support for childcare providers and plans for updating existing guidance.

Early learning and childcare: letter to Directors of Education ELC LA leads (Added 8 July)

A joint letter has been issued from COSLA and Minister for Children and Young People Maree Todd MSP to Directors of Education, early learning and childcare (ELC) local authority leads.

COVID-19 testing for care home staff in Scotland (Added 7 July)

The UK government have released guidance which gives instructions on how to test for coronavirus.

The Scottish Government have also released a letter to all care home staff with guidance on conducting tests for coronavirus.

Interim guidance on the extended use of medical masks and face coverings in hospitals and care homes (Added 7 July)

The Scottish Government has released guidance on the extended use of medical face masks by staff within residential healthcare settings such as acute adult (inc. mental health) and community hospitals and care homes.

Flexible Childcare Services Scotland: national sessional staff bank for childcare (Added 7 July)

Flexible Childcare Services Scotland have developed a national sessional staff bank for childcare.

This free service can be used by practitioners seeking employment terms that fit with their existing work commitments, and offers childcare providers the ability to identify and connect with available practitioners in their area.

School age childcare services reopening guidance (Added 6 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 6 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 6 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. 

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.

PPE for early learning and childcare services (Added 30 June)

To offer a route to buying PPE for private, voluntary and independent early learning and childcare services, including childminders and out-of-school care, the Scottish Government has set up a framework agreement with third-party supplier Lyreco.

Lyreco offers a range of products to purchase, including face masks, aprons, gloves, visors, hand sanitiser, goggles and safety glasses. All products are subject to availability and prices are updated regularly on the Lyreco website.

Please note that this is a ‘pay for’ service, and the provider will be responsible for paying for any products purchased from Lyreco under this agreement.

If you wish to open an account with Lyreco, please first read the privacy notice, then complete the form, which must include your Care Inspectorate CS number and email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Once your CS number is confirmed as being a registered care service your account will be set up. This may take a few days depending on the volume of forms returned. Lyreco will then give you access to their online ordering site, where you will be able to see the full range of products available and current prices. Opening an account does not place you under any obligation to place an order.

Local authority providers should continue to access PPE through their usual routes, in most cases through Scotland Excel.

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:

Name:

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.

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 www.nhsinform.scot/coronavirus 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