This summer the Law Clinic was very fortunate to have received a Strathclyde University Alumni fund grant to allow us to employ a student intern over the summer to develop accessible resources for workers regulated by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) undergoing Fitness to Practice proceedings. Many low paid workers cannot afford a solicitor and cannot obtain legal aid. The Law Clinic aims to plug that gap in legal service provision and creating online resources is one way of enabling workers in that situation to navigate the process.
We spoke to the two students who worked on this project about their experience. They are in the final stages of completing the resources and hope to have them posted online soon. Keep an eye out for further updates when they are on our website.
I have worked on several SSSC cases at the Law Clinic and each one has highlighted to me the level of unmet legal need in this area. SSSC proceedings can have a huge impact on a person’s employment and wellbeing and it can be extremely daunting for a worker to navigate the process and not be represented. Unfortunately, we cannot take on all the SSSC clients who ask for our help, I hope that these online resources will help those who are unrepresented to feel slightly more prepared when dealing with SSSC proceedings.
Scott and I started by identifying the topics which we wanted to cover. We then conducted individual research on the topics, referring to the SSSC factsheets, decisions guidance and the Fitness to Practice Rules. Our aim was to make the resources as accessible as possible but it can be tricky trying to distill a complex process. We tried to do this by avoiding using jargon and breaking the process down into separate slideshows to make each topic ‘bitesize’. We also referred to the Law Clinic’s employment law resources (you can find these resources here: https://www.lawclinic.org.uk/employment-law-resources) to help us format and structure the information. Alongside creating these resources, I have also been working on a SSSC case. This has helped to show me which areas to focus on in our resources.
It has been really interesting working on this project and I have enjoyed having the opportunity to contribute to the Law Clinic’s overarching aim of promoting access to justice. I have gained an in-depth understanding of SSSC processes and I hope that this will stand me in good stead for any casework I do with SSSC clients at the Law Clinic in future.
It has been a great opportunity to work on SSSC resources, which can be used not just for work within the Clinic, but by anyone who is involved with the SSSC. Whilst working on developing these resources, it became clear that there is a lack of proper information out there for those who are seeking it.
We have put a real focus on ensuring that our resources are easy to access and digest, whilst simultaneously containing all the information that is relevant to each topic.
We got the chance to speak to a solicitor who specialises in representing workers at SSSC hearings, who provided valuable insight into the process and practical application of the regulations. I hope that these resources can make a difference to our work in the Clinic, and also to those who are seeking reliable information regarding any issues they have encountered during the course of their registration at the SSSC.