More information about the review

What will we do?

Between July 2024 and December 2024 we will carry out a review that will focus on social work governance and assurance in Scotland.  We will answer the following question.

How well do social work governance and assurance arrangements support leaders to:

  • Ensure statutory duties are carried out safely and effectively?
  • Enable social work staff to be supported, accountable and effective in their practice?
  • Assist social work staff to uphold core social work values? 

What is the purpose of the review?

The purpose of the review is to add to the understanding of the role, remit, effectiveness and the current challenges facing social work services. We will do this by exploring the impact of governance and assurance arrangements. The review will:

  • highlight the areas of influence for chief social worker officers, principal social workers and other key social work leaders as they provide governance and assurance
  • explore the support and assistance provided by leaders and managers to encourage staff to uphold social work values in practice
  • identify and disseminate information about what is working well
  • recognise the challenges faced by local leaders and staff across the country and identify areas where improvement is required.

How will we do this?

A team of strategic inspectors from the Care Inspectorate will carry out the review. The scope of the review is relative to the current pressures currently being experienced by the sector. It is designed to be mindful of the impact on those leading and working in social work services.  We will take a collaborative, flexible and supportive approach when working with local areas. Each area is asked to nominate a co-ordinator to act as a main point of contact for the review.  The timeline below (figure 1) illustrates the core tasks being undertaken through the review. The key dates are outlined below.

How will we report our findings?

The review will conclude in December 2024. Using the principles of the European Framework for Quality Management (EFQM) model, we will analyse all of the information gathered systematically and will draw together messages for the sector.  A national report will be published on our website in March 2025. We will also use other methods, such as webinars, to share the learning from the review. 

For more information, please visit our website here

Review timeline

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Figure 1: Review timeline

Details about the review timeline


Type of activity

More details

15 July 2024 Notification Local authorities and HSCPs formally notified and asked to nominate a co-ordinator to act as a single point of contact by 19 July 2024.The following week co-ordinators receive detailed guidance about the review.  
5 - 16 August 2024 Briefing sessions for co-ordinators Co-ordinators invited to attend a virtual briefing session with the review team from the Care Inspectorate.Information about the review will be shared and there will be opportunities for co-ordinators to ask questions.  
19 August - 4 October 2024 Staff survey  Local authority areas/HSCPs asked to share a staff survey for all frontline social work staff and first line managers.  
27 August 2024 Document return Co-ordinators asked to return a short list of documents to the partnership by this date.  
30 September -
1 November 2024
Interviews with leaders and focus groups Structured interviews with Chief Social Work Officers and a maximum of two other people during this period.Middle/senior managers (e.g. operations managers, service managers) from each local authority invited to participate in themed virtual focus groups.  
17 March 2025 National review report publication  National review report published on the Care Inspectorate website.  A local staff survey report will be provided to each area after publication.Further opportunities to discuss findings will be arranged, including webinars.  


Key definitions

Some definitions to clarify the remit of the review:

By governance and assurance we mean: A robust system for assuring high standards in the delivery of safe, personalised and effective social work services [adapted from the definition in “Governance for quality social care in Scotland” SWS 2018]

By statutory duties we mean: those outlined in the “Role of the registered social worker in statutory interventions: guidance for Local Authorities” in relation to the wide range of statutory duties across children’s, adults and justice social work services [source: Role of registered social worker in statutory interventions: guidance for Local Authorities SG 2010].

By social work staff we mean: social workers and other staff employed to fulfil or support the delivery of statutory social work duties such as occupational therapists, paraprofessionals (social work assistants and justice assistants). For the purposes of this review, we will not involve staff who work in registered services (such as residential care home staff, housing support staff or similar), because they are already involved in inspections of regulated services.  

By core social work values we mean: those outlined in the SSSC code of practice (May 2024) underpinned by the ethical principles of human rights and dignity, social justice and professional integrity [source: BASW Code of Ethics 2021]

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Review of social work governance and assurance in Scotland

On 15 July 2024 we notified all local authorities and health and social care partnerships across Scotland of our intention to undertake a national thematic review of social work governance and assurance arrangements.

The review is being carried out between July and December 2024 and a national report will be published in March 2025. The legislative basis for the review is S.53 of the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010.

Through the review we will answer these questions.

How well do social work governance and assurance arrangements support leaders to:

  • Ensure statutory duties are carried out safely and effectively?
  • Enable social work staff to be supported, accountable and effective in their practice?
  • Assist social work staff to uphold core social work values?

We will span all areas of statutory social work including adults, children and justice social work services and will cover all local authority areas in Scotland. 

The review will include: a review of documents, a national staff survey, interviews with key leaders from across Scotland and a range of focus groups with middle and senior managers.

Review timeline

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More information about the review can be found in the following links:


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Privacy statement

Information about privacy

The thematic review is being carried out under Section 53 of the Public Services (Scotland) Reform Act 2010.

This legislation gives inspectors the power to interview staff, read records and speak with children, young people and their families.

  • All personal information about children and their families is kept confidentially and stored in line with our data protection impact assessment which complies with General Data Protection Regulations.  The Care Inspectorate’s core privacy notice can be found here.
  • All confidential information that requires to be shared is done so using a secure portal.  We will not accept information via email.  We will record all information using a unique reference number.
  • When staff, children and families speak with us, we do not report directly on their individual opinions and experiences.  We instead collate these views and experiences with others and we never identify individuals in our reports.
  • The only time we will disclose information is if we are worried about the safety of an individual or if we have serious concerns about practice. • Children, young people and families can choose whether or not, to speak with us. They also have the choice about whether to speak with us alone or with someone they trust.


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Update - June 2024

What we have been doing since our last briefing in January 2024 

We have continued to work alongside the four areas that came forward to be part of more detailed work: 

  • Aberdeen city 
  • Dundee city
  • Dumfries and Galloway 
  • Na h-Eileanan Siar (Western Isles) 

In January we reviewed a sample of children’s social work’s records. Across the four areas we read a total of 117 records. This helped us to better understand the effectiveness of children’s assessments, plans and reviews in ensuring children received the help they needed at the right time.     

Between February and March, we visited each of the four areas and met with children, young people, their families, carers and the staff who help them. We had the privilege of hearing directly from people who receive services about the difference these made to their lives and what could be improved. We also reviewed feedback provided by children and young people through our electronic survey. We visited social work teams, social care services and schools to hear from social work staff and other professionals who support disabled children and young people. During these visits we learned more about what was working well for children and young people and what was more challenging. 

We held five focus groups involving representatives from the four areas. This helped practitioners to reflect together about the areas of strengths and for improvement across the country.   

We are very grateful to everyone who took the time to speak with us or complete our surveys. We would also like to extend our thanks to everyone who facilitated our interactions with children and young people. We saw how important it was to the children and young people to receive support from people they knew well and who cared for them.   

In May, we met with representatives from the four areas individually to provide verbal feedback and share our reflections on our time spent in their area. We also shared their individual results for their record reading review and staff survey with them.    

Next steps 

We are now working on our national overview report, which we plan to publish in August 2024. We are working alongside colleagues within our organisation to provide accessible formats, including a short video animation to highlight our key messages. 

The published report will be available on the Care Inspectorate’s website. 

If you have any questions for the review team, they can be contacted via email on: 

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

We’d like to thank everyone who has been involved in this review. 

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Information for young people and families

Who is this information for?

This information is for young people and their family members who have agreed to speak to us or complete a survey as part of our review of services for care experienced young people. Where we talk about young people we are talking about those who are care experienced. This term includes all categories of care as young people approach adulthood and are being supported to either move on or continue to be cared for in a place of their choice.

What is this review about? 

The purpose of the review is to find out how services are supporting young people when they are leaving care and ensuring that their rights are being upheld. These services are helping young people when they are making plans for leaving care and after they have moved on. They may be supporting you with housing, with your health or in relation to education or employment. A team from the Care Inspectorate are carrying out this review and we want to hear from people with recent lived experience of leaving care.

Why have I been asked for my views?

People who work with you feel that you could make a valuable contribution to the review. We want to listen to your views about whether you have received the help you need and any difference this has made to your life. Hearing the views and opinions of young people and family members is the most important part of our review. 

Do I have to take part?

No, taking part in the review is not compulsory. We strongly recommend that you chat with a keyworker, your social worker, or any other trusted adult before consenting.

How will I share my views with the review team?

If you agree to take part in the review there are two ways in which you may have been invited to share your views: directly with a member of the review team or by completing a survey. In both we will be asking questions to help us fully understand your experience, whether you received the support you needed and the impact of any support received.

Sharing your views directly with a member of the team

If this is the way you have been asked to take part arrangements will be made for a member of the review team to meet you at a time and in a place which suits you. This can be done in person, or we can arrange an online meeting or a phone call. You can be supported by people you know if this is your preference. The questions we will be asking you, have been developed in consultation with care experienced young people.

Completing a survey (young people only)

This will be shared with you by a worker who knows you and they will ensure that you have the help you need to complete the survey and we would encourage you to speak with them if completing the survey raises any issues for you. Your response is anonymous. Care experienced young people were involved in designing the survey.  You can change your mind and end the meeting or stop the survey at any time.

What will I be asked about?

We will ask you about your views about any support and help that you have had. We want to know about whether you have been involved in decisions that affect you and your family. We also want to ask you about how your rights have been respected. We will not ask you to share your personal information with us. 

What will you do with the things I tell you?

  • We will use what you say to help us work out what services are doing well and what needs to change.
  • What you say to us is private and we won’t use your name or identify you or share any of your personal details.
  • The only time we will tell others about something you say is if we are worried for your safety or the safety of someone else.
  • We will take some notes during the interview. These notes will not contain personal information and we will not share these notes with others. We will store our notes securely and destroy them at the end of the review.
  • We have rules about how we keep your information private. You can find our core privacy notice here. We will write a report in November 2024 and we will have other ways of sharing what services are doing well and what needs improve.

Where can I find out more information?

You can find out more information from our webpage. If you have any questions about taking part please speak to the person who gave you this form.

Thank you for taking part in our review.

You can download the information on this page in PDF format here.

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