cottage door and window

Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland

3.7.1   From 1 April 2011, the regulatory functions of the Care Commission were transferred to two new scrutiny bodies:  Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS) and Health Improvement Scotland (HIS).  The Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 (‘the PSR Act’) set up SCSWIS to regulate care services and HIS to regulate independent healthcare in Scotland.

3.7.2   Care services are defined in Schedule 12 of the PSR Act. They are regulated against the provisions in that Act, its associated regulations and taking account of the National Care Standards for each service type.

3.7.3   The National Care Standards are published by the Scottish Ministers and set out what people using care services can expect from their provider. Relevant accommodation is exempt from HMO licensing when it is provided as part of any one of the following care services registered under Part 5 or Part 6 of the PSR Act:
  • Care home service
  • School care accommodation service
  • Secure accommodation service
  • Independent health care service

3.7.4   These types of services are inevitably provided in dedicated accommodation. Other categories of care services are not necessarily provided in dedicated accommodation. In these cases SCSWIS regulates the service, and the standards of accommodation are, where appropriate, controlled by HMO licensing. The most common example is a Housing Support Service, which might be provided to people leaving institutional care or who have been homeless, to help them develop the skills to manage their own home.

3.7.5   They might start in hostel-type accommodation, move to a house shared with three or four other people, including support workers, and finally move to a home on their own, where support workers continue to visit for as long as necessary.  This is a process in which the individual may have the same support worker throughout, but moves from dedicated HMO accommodation, to non-specialist HMO accommodation, to a mainstream, singly occupied house.

3.7.6   SCSWIS may raise issues with the service provider about, for example, the appropriateness of the accommodation or equipment in place, for the provision of the support service where this impacts on the quality of care provided.  The local authority would not normally be party to such comments, unless they are mentioned by the licence holder. If licensing officers have any queries or concerns about HMO operators who are also providing care or support, they should contact SCSWIS’s local office and ask for the person dealing with housing support services. A list of contact details is available on SCSWIS’s website at

Local authority social care and homelessness services

3.7.7   Care and support services regulated by the SCSWIS are often funded through contracts with local authorities, under a range of programmes which include social work services and services for homeless people.

3.7.8   HMO licensing officers should work with colleagues to ensure that all non-exempt HMOs used by such services are licensed.  For example, three or more homeless people regularly staying within a Bed and Breakfast could trigger the need for the owner to licence the premises as an HMO.

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