PDA Scrutiny and Improvement Practice (Social Services) SCQF level 10

The PDA in Scrutiny and Improvement Practice (Social Services) at SCQF level 10 has been designed specifically to meet the Inspection of Health and Social Care Standards, which form part of the National Occupational Standards (NOS).

Social Care Social Work Improvement Scotland, now known as the Care Inspectorate, was established under the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010.   It is the independent scrutiny and improvement body responsible for regulation and inspection of care and support services, scrutiny of criminal justice social work services and joint inspections with other scrutiny partners of services for adults and children.

This qualification is aimed at Authorised Persons including Inspectors, Strategic Inspectors, Professional Advisors and Team Managers. Their backgrounds include teaching, nursing, social work and social care, early years, health care, police, housing and environmental health.

The Care Inspectorate employs and authorises staff to inspect social care and social work services and requires them to undertake an award to enable registration with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).

The PDA in Scrutiny Practice and Improvement will allow Care Inspectorate staff to gain SSSC registration.

This qualification covers areas such as frameworks for scrutiny practice, the craft of scrutiny and supporting improvement.

The principal aim of the PDA in Scrutiny and Improvement Practice (Social Services) at SCQF level 10 is to provide a qualification that will enable learners to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and values needed to ensure positive outcomes for people using services as well as enabling registration with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).

During the development of this qualification, SQA have consulted with the SSSC,  employers and service users/carers in both the voluntary and private sector that are affected by the work of the Care Inspectorate. Practitioners at all levels have also been involved in the development of the award to ensure the award is fit for purpose.

The PDA has been designed to offer learners the opportunity to gain knowledge and skills, which will enable them to:

  • Meet the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for Inspection of Services in Scotland
  • Meet the requirements for registration with Scottish Social Services Council
  • Support the aspirations and vision of the Care Inspectorate
  • Allow learners to gain new knowledge and consolidate skills to achieve the competence and confidence to deliver high quality scrutiny and improvement through the development and critical analysis of practice
  • Evidence high-level certificated Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for Authorised Officers in the Care Inspectorate


Entry is at the discretion of the centre. Learners must be working in a scrutiny and improvement role.

Learners should have well developed communication and inter-personal skills. They should be able to demonstrate their ability to critically review and consolidate knowledge, skills, practices and thinking in their areas of practice. This may be demonstrated by relevant professional qualifications at SCQF level 9 (or equivalent), or above with relevant experience in a social services or other related setting. Acceptance of relevant equivalent qualifications and experience will be at the discretion of the centre.

The Units in the PDA have been mapped against the National Occupational Standards for Inspection of Health and Social Care Standards.

Learners would have the opportunity of progressing to SCQF level 11 qualifications.

Centers interested in offering this qualification require to come forward for approval and should contact SQA's Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA's general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Systems and Qualification Approval Guide. The specific delivery requirements are set out in the Group Award Specification (Arrangements Document).

Each individual Unit specification gives detailed information on the Evidence Requirements and approaches to assessment for each Unit.

Qualifications Structure

Group Award code: GM1G 50 (64 SCQF credit points)


The PDA in Scrutiny and Improvement Practice (Social Services) at SCQF level 10 consists of 4 mandatory Units.