Care Inspectorate

Care Inspectorate Logo

A new regulator for Scotland: Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland

The Care Inspectorate regulates and inspects care services in Scotland to make sure that they meet the right standards. They also jointly inspect with other regulators to check how well different organisations in local areas work to support adults and children. 

Set up by Scottish Government, and accountable to ministers, it is the job of the Care Inspectorate to assure and protect everyone that uses these services.  


There are around 14,000 registered care services in Scotland. Care inspectors visit every care service that is regulated.  Higher risk services are inspected more often. Inspectors talk to people using the service, staff and managers. They watch what happens in the service to help assess the quality of care people receive.

They want to make sure services safeguard people. They should be managed and led well, and make a positive impact on people’s lives, based on their needs, rights and choices.

Services are awarded grades after they have had an inspection. Inspectors look at the quality of:

  • care and support
  • environment
  • staffing
  • management and leadership.

Each area of each care service is assessed on a scale from 1 to 6, where 1 in unsatisfactory and 6 is excellent. 

What If Things Are Not Good Enough?

The job of inspectors is not just to inspect care services, but to help them improve. This means that they offer advice, guidance and suggestions to help services reach the highest standards. If a service isn’t performing to the levels they require, they will not hesitate to act. They can issue recommendations for improvement and requirements for change and check these have happened. If a service doesn’t improve, they can close it down. They can also impose conditions on care service meaning they must start or stop doing something specific. 


One of the most important ways to make sure care services improve is by listening to concerns.

How to make a complaint

Registered care service

If you are not happy with the level of care you or someone you care for is receiving, we would encourage you to first of all speak to the care service itself about your concerns. This is often the quickest way to resolve a problem. 

However, you can choose to complain directly to the Care Inspectorate by either:

If you are unhappy with the outcome, you have the right to ask the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) to look into their decision. The SPSO website has information on making a complaint and the types of complaints it looks at. They are the final stage for handling complaints about public services in Scotland.