The Care Inspectorate and the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) have issued a joint statement to set out our policy on the regulation of managers and clarify the position regarding applications for managers who do not hold relevant qualifications.

The regulation of managers of registered care services is a shared responsibility between the SSSC and the Care Inspectorate.

The SSSC is responsible for professional workforce regulation of managers of services, with the exception of those who are registered with another regulatory body. The Care Inspectorate is responsible for providers complying with regulation to ensure that each registered service has a manager in place who is fit.

The SSSC require all registrants to hold, or agree to achieve, a relevant qualification. The Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001 provides scope for the SSSC to grant registration to a worker who does not hold a relevant qualification. This means that a manager can register with the SSSC without holding a relevant qualification subject to the condition they gain the necessary qualification/s, normally within a five year period.   

Fit to manage a service

The Care Inspectorate, under duties in the Public Service Reform (Scotland) Act 2010, requires providers to appoint an individual as manager and that this person must not act as a manager of a care service unless they are fit.

People who are unfit include anyone who is not of integrity and good character, anyone who does not have the skills, knowledge and experience necessary for managing a care service or anyone who is legally required to be registered with a professional body but isn’t.

Given that primary responsibility for appointing a fit manager rests with the provider, the Care Inspectorate only intervenes to question, or prevent, the appointment of a manager in circumstances if the proposed manager lacks sufficient knowledge and/or experience for managing the service. Currently a provider submits a registration application or a change of manager form to the Care Inspectorate, which confirms the provider has carried out the expected fitness checks, including taking up references and SSSC registration as a manager.

Inspectors ensure that providers comply with this process following the guidance document How we assess the ability of a manager in terms of their skills, knowledge and experience, to manage a care service. One of the criteria used for the assessment relates to the manager’s qualifications and any training they have completed.  

New and existing services

If a provider applying to register a new service proposes to appoint a manager without either experience, a management or practice qualification, the Care Inspectorate will insist a manager with a relevant qualification and experience is appointed.  

For existing services proposing to appoint a new manager, the Care Inspectorate expects all proposed managers must hold at least a relevant practice qualification and have the knowledge and skills to be approved to manage a registered care service. This position reflects the fundamental role managers have in ensuring the quality of care that people experience and is in line with other care regulators across the UK.

Managers provide leadership for staff and ultimately make decisions regarding the competence and fitness of staff, so we believe it’s reasonable to expect managers to have relevant practice knowledge to fulfil this role.

For the small number of managers without any relevant qualification, this expectation will not be applied retrospectively and providers will be encouraged to support managers to gain qualifications to meet SSSC qualifications requirements. This does not apply to short-term, acting-up arrangements while recruiting a replacement manager.