The Care Inspectorate and Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) published new figures on the levels of staff vacancies in Scotland’s social care services today.

The report comes as the Scottish Government launches a new campaign to promote careers in adult social care ‘There’s More To Care Than Caring’.

The staff vacancies report provides a national overview of vacancy levels and recruitment difficulties reported by care services registered with the Care Inspectorate. It also includes data on the actual number of vacancies services have, which is held by the SSSC.

In the past year, 38% of services reported having vacancies, which is unchanged from the previous year.

However, care homes for adults, care homes for older people, housing support services, care at home services, nurse agencies and residential special schools all had a proportion of services with vacancies significantly above the national average for all care services.

Daycare of children and adoption services were significantly below the national average for all care services reporting vacancies.

At 31 December 2018, the rate of WTE vacancies for all services in Scotland was 5.5%, down from 5.9% in 2017. This was higher than the overall vacancy rate across all establishments in Scotland of 3.1%.

Lorraine Gray, Chief Executive of the SSSC said: “A vital consideration when looking at vacancies in care services is making sure that social care attracts people with the right values, skills and experience to work in the sector.

“We’ve worked with Scottish Government on the adult social care recruitment campaign, launched today, which aims not only to encourage more people to consider a career in care but also emphasises the values you need.

“The social service workforce is growing, there are more than 200,000 people working in the sector, which is almost 8% of all employment in Scotland, so there are lots of opportunities and different types of roles.

“It’s a fulfilling and rewarding career which gives you the opportunity to work towards qualifications as part of a professional workforce making a positive difference to people’s lives.”

Peter Macleod, chief executive of the Care Inspectorate said: “We know that an effective and stable staff team is important for providing the world class care everyone wants to see.

“It allows trusting relationships to be developed between people providing and experiencing care, often supporting positive experiences and outcomes.

“The Care Inspectorate recognises that recruitment and retention into some parts of the social care sector remains a challenge, and we collect significant data about the places and parts of the sector where recruitment problems are more challenging.

“This report has been prepared to provide a national overview of the vacancy levels and recruitment difficulties reported by care services in their Care Inspectorate annual returns.

“We know, of course, that numbers do not tell the whole story. The skills, experiences, and values of social care staff are just as critical as the right number of staff being employed.

“However, going forward we expect to see more innovative solutions embraced by care providers and commissioners, as well as increased partnership working between social care services, local authorities and other key partners to ensure that the underlying issues around filling problem vacancies can be addressed.”

Every care service is asked to complete an annual return every year to provide statistical and other information. The vacancy questions are asked for every care service type apart from childminders, who are typically sole providers.

The report is available here