All organisations which employ paid staff are subject to employment law; including equality, health and safety, minimum wage, working time etc. ( See other areas of the website for information on, for example, the minimum wage). Therefore, all services whether in the public, private or voluntary sector; must meet regulatory obligations as employers, currently usually under UK or EU law. This section is not about employment law as such, but laws which are specific to social care in Scotland and the regulation of social care services, staff, and volunteers where applicable.

Registration requirements for out of school care in Scotland

In Scotland the out of school care sector is regulated according to legislation. The legislation is in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children and young people using the services through high quality services and staff with appropriate qualifications and training to meet the needs of children and young people.

Out of school care services are regulated and inspected by the Care Inspectorate  against the Health and Social Care Standards: My support, my life.

The workforce is regulated by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) who ensures that workers meet certain qualification requirements according to their job status, as well as adhering to the SSSC's Code of Practice. All staff, and some volunteers, working in out of school care also have to meet the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme.

Regulation and inspection of out of school care services

Out of school care services are registered, inspected and graded by the Care Inspectorate. The Care Inspectorate also deal with complaints and take action to improve quality of services; in exceptional circumstances, they can also close services which are of consistent poor quality or expose services users to risks.

Services are inspected against the new (June 2017) Health and Social Care Standards: My support, my life.

These Health and Social Care Standards set out what we should expect when using health, social care or social work services in Scotland. They seek to provide better outcomes for everyone; to ensure that individuals are treated with respect and dignity, and that the basic human rights we are all entitled to are upheld.

The Standards are underpinned by five principles; dignity and respect, compassion, be included, responsive care and support and wellbeing.

The Standards are based on five headline outcomes:

  • I experience high quality care and support that is right for me.
  • I am fully involved in all decisions about my care and support.
  • I have confidence in the people who support and care for me.
  • I have confidence in the organisation providing my care and support.
  • I experience a high quality environment if the organisation provides the premises.

Registration with the Care Inspectorate

When an out of school care service is starting up, their identified premises must be registered and inspected by the Care Inspectorate. The Care Inspectorate will indicate what adaptations, if any, must be made before opening and also the maximum number of children that will be allowed to attend the service at any one time.

If, at any time, a service wishes to increase the registered number of children, the service will need to apply for a variation to their original terms (again they will need to be inspected).

The Care Inspectorate should be informed when the named person registered with the Care Inspectorate, usually the manager, leaves, and another takes their place.

Inspection reports on any service are publicly available on the Care Inspectorate website and this includes details of any complaints upheld or regulatory recommendations made.

Grading of services

The Care Inspectorate grade services on a scale of 1 - 6 (unsatisfactory to excellent). Those services which are deemed to be “low-risk” overall: level 4 or above will not have annual inspections, whereas those that are high-risk: 3 or below will have annual inspections. Low-risk services will have at least one inspection within a 36 month period.

Regulation of the out of school care workforce

Out of school care services are registered with and regulated by the Care Inspectorate; all employees within out of school care services are recognised as social care workers and as such they must register with the Scottish Social Services Council.

Workers are required to have a designated qualification appropriate to the job level, if they do not have this, then registration will be granted on the condition that the qualification is achieved within 5 years.

New workers have 6 months from their start date to register with the SSSC.

Once registered workers are expected to undertake annual Post Registration Training and Learning (PRTL).

SSSC Codes of Practice

The SSSC has codes of practice which should be adhered to by employers and employees- for information on these codes, please follow the link below:

SSSC Codes of Practice can be found here:

Lead Practitioner Registration/Qualification Requirements

The Lead Practitioner is the manager of the service, and probably also the named contact registered with the Care Inspectorate. The SSSC define managers/lead practitioners in the following way:

“Managers/lead practitioners in day care of children services are defined as workers who hold responsibilities for the overall development, management and quality assurance of service provision including supervision of staff and the management of resources; this is usually the person who is the named manager with the Care Inspectorate.”

Since 1 December 2011, when registering or re-registering with the SSSC, Lead Practitioners should be qualified to, or working towards qualification at, a Level 9 qualification in Childhood Practice: this could be a BA in Childhood Practice, Post Graduate Diploma in Childhood Practice or the SQA Professional Development Award (Level 9) in Childhood Practice. This is a degree level qualification.

Further information on Lead Practitioner qualification requirements:

information for managers

Further information on the Childhood Practice Award:

Childhood Practice Award

The Standard for Childhood Practice:

Standard for Childhood Practice

Practitioner Registration/Qualification Requirements

Practitioner must be registered with the SSSC and are defined as:

“workers who identify and meet the care, support and learning needs of children and contribute to the development and quality assurance of informal learning activities and/or curriculum. They may also be responsible for the supervision of other workers.”

Practitioner qualification requirements:

information for practitioners

Support Worker Registration/Qualification Requirements

Support workers in out of school care will mostly and at least, be qualified to SVQ2. Further information on qualification requirements for support workers:

information for support workers

Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme

If you're an employer and your business involves working with children or protected adults, your employees may be eligible for the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme. The type of work that the PVG Scheme applies to is called 'regulated work'.

PVG scheme

PVG is a membership scheme which makes sure its members are allowed to work with children or protected adults.

PVG Fee Waiver

Anyone starting a new role in childcare, including childminders, from 1 August 2023 – 31 March 2024 are eligible to have their membership of the PVG scheme paid by the Scottish Government. To be eligible for this fee waiver, you must be working in a role that requires registration with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) under the Day Care of Children category, or register as a childminder or childminding assistant with the Care Inspectorate (CI). More information on eligibility and how to apply for the fee waiver is available here:

If your organisation employs staff in regulated work and they are involved in conduct that harms children or protected adults or places them at risk of harm, by law, you may be required to make a referral to Disclosure Scotland.