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Healthcare Support Workers - Mandatory Standards and Codes

From 31 December 2010, all new start healthcare support workers employed in NHSScotland will be required to achieve a set of induction standards and to comply with a code of conduct. Employers of healthcare support workers will also be required to comply with a code of practice.

These requirements are laid out in a Direction from Scottish Ministers (the equivalent of secondary legislation) which was issued on 15 June 2010 under cover of CEL 23 (2010). To view the CEL click here.

To view the mandatory standards and codes, please click on the following:

Induction standards for healthcare support workers

Code of conduct for healthcare support workers

Code of practice for employers of healthcare support workers

Throughout the process of policy making and reaching a state of readiness for implementation, there have been a number of helpful questions raised by our partners and wider stakeholders. For the latest version of the Frequently Asked Questions (and answers) click below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Executive Sponsors in Boards


Prior to implementation of CEL 23 (2010) each NHS Board has been required to identify an ?°„Executive Sponsor?�7 to promote the new requirements, govern and oversee the monitoring of compliance with them.  The responsibilities of the Executive Sponsor are to:

  • Ensure the Employing Authority has systems in place to support the implementation of the Standards and Codes;
  • Ensure the Employing Authority has systems in place to support evaluation of its own performance with regard to implementation of the Standards and Codes;
  • Ensure that action is taken where concerns are raised by that evaluation;
  • Where appropriate, refer concerns regarding implementation to the Scottish Government Health Directorates;
  • Prepare an evidence-based annual report as a result of monitoring compliance with the revised arrangements for the Scottish Government Health Directorates as part of staff governance arrangements.

To view the list of Board Executive Sponsors, click here

Action Officers?� Network

A network of Action Officers has been set up to implement the requirements of the CEL within each Board.  Each Board Action Officer was nominated by their Executive Sponsor.

An important part of the role for each Action Officer is to support integration of the new requirements with existing structures and processes with NHS Boards, including existing induction programmes, the KSF review process, KSF outlines for posts, personal development planning and review, other frameworks such as the Domestic Services Framework, HR processes and job descriptions, existing monitoring arrangements for staff governance & information governance and with future reporting from SWISS.

All Action Officers provide a senior point of contact for the Scottish Government and represent the interests of their Boards.   The Network will consider implementation matters over three meetings (see dates below). To view the terms of reference, membership and minutes, please click on the links below:

Terms of Reference


Monday 16 August 2010 - minutes

Monday 15 November 2010 - minutes

Monday 28 February 2011 - minutes

Wednesday 31 August 2011 - minutes

National Communications Materials

To assist with consistency of messages across NHS Boards, the Action Officers Network has developed a single PowerPoint presentation (please select "read only" on opening this document) for national use.  In addition, a leaflet for Healthcare Support Workers and a separate one for their managers/supervisors have been produced.

How we got here ?-

Between January 2007 and December 2008, a pilot to test out the standards and codes took place in three NHS Boards and one independent hospital. This was managed by NHS QIS on behalf of the Scottish Government Health Directorates (SGHD). The final management report by QIS is available here. A parallel independent evaluation was also carried out by the Scottish Council for Social Research - this can be viewed here. This provided the evidence base for policy development.

Throughout the process of policy making and reaching a state of readiness across NHSScotland, national Partnership involvement has been a key feature. Regular updates have been provided to the Scottish Workforce and Staff Governance Committee / Secretariat.