New guidance designed to support employers recruiting social service staff is now available on the Care Inspectorate Hub.

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) and the Care Inspectorate produced this guidance in partnership with people and organisations in the private, public and third sector and other government agencies.

‘Safer Recruitment’ will help employers continue to meet their legal and regulatory requirements that make sure unsuitable staff do not join the workforce. It sets out Scottish Ministers' expectation that employers will continuously improve safer recruitment practice in relation to those who work with the most vulnerable people.

Anna Fowlie, SSSC Chief Executive said: ‘It is hugely important that we recruit and retain staff who are trusted, skilled and confident into the social service workforce. We need people who are suitable and safe to work with vulnerable people from the very young to the very old and in all sorts of life circumstances.

‘As well as having the right qualifications and experience, it’s vital that workers have the right values, skills and behaviours to work in social work and social care. The Vision and Strategy for Social Services highlighted the need to bring the guidance up to date and I am pleased that the SSSC and the Care Inspectorate have worked closely to develop this new resource. It has advice and tools that will support employers to make sure the way they go about recruiting and selecting staff is up to date with current good practice; it also allows employers to share their experiences of what has worked.’

Karen Reid, Chief Executive of the Care Inspectorate said: ‘We are delighted to support this resource and expect employers to use it to support good recruitment decisions. We know that there is a tremendous and committed workforce across all care settings in Scotland and that the people who work in care play a crucial role in delivering good quality outcomes and ensuring that people’s experience of care is as good as it can be. Everyone in Scotland has
the right to safe, compassionate care which meets their needs and respects their rights.

‘This resource will help care providers ensure that they continue to improve the services they provide and ensure that care in Scotland remains safe, high-quality, compassionate and focuses on the needs and rights of the individual.’


This online guidance replaces the Scottish Government’s national guidance Safer Recruitment through Better Recruitment (2007).

It features the key steps and stages of the recruitment process and outlines the key elements, highlights areas for further consideration and provides links to guidance, tools and practice examples from the social service sector. It’s an interactive tool which will develop over time.

This guidance will help employers to be satisfied that:

  • they meet their legal and regulatory requirements
  • potential applicants are aware of their commitment to the welfare of vulnerable people
  • each candidate has demonstrated their suitability for the position they are applying for
  • as far as possible, at each stage of recruitment and selection that the candidate is safe to practise 
  • at each stage of the process, they have selected the best candidate to progress to the next stage 
  • the candidate’s identity, qualifications, registration and right to work status are valid.

Read the safer recruitment guidance on The Hub