Support in Mind Scotland, in partnership with the Scottish Social Services Council, has created an online learning resource available to all staff. As an organisation, we are committed to supporting staff to provide the best quality service they can for our service users, and to feeling happy and motivated through personal learning and development, developing practice skills and knowledge throughout all of our staff teams. Staff should refer to the organisation’s Training Policy for a full statement of our commitment to staff Learning and Development.  

This online resource is in the form of a suite of Open Badges (OB), and for staff who are registered, these badges will contribute towards SSSC Post Registration Training and Learning (PRTL); and for staff not yet registered, they will enable you to build a portfolio of evidence of learning to support you in your career with Support in Mind Scotland. Support in Mind Scotland is a learning organisation who believes that quality improvement comes through continual reflection and review with support

OB are digital certificates recognising learning and achievement. These have been developed by Support in Mind Scotland (SiMS) as part of a joint initiative with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).

SiMS Badges and SSSC Badges

The SSSC has a wide range of badges available on their website (SSSC Badges). In addition, SiMS has developed badges specifically for our staff, based on what staff told us they wanted to know (SiMS Badges). These badges are bespoke and designed to signpost staff to SiMS policies and case studies, and to become more familiar with our own resources.

Some of the badges are core and are therefore mandatory; some are discretionary, but are actively promoted as part of staff learning and development

Core Badges:

  • All core badges (see attached Register of Badges) are mandatory and should be completed within 6 months of beginning induction period.
  • All current staff should complete core badges within 6 months of SiMS online learning launch (April 5th2019). However, as this is the first year of the OB for SiMS, the timescale for completing the mandatory badges for current staff will be extended to the end January 2020.
  • The remaining OB which are not core learning have been listed and linked to the SSSC learning website for your guidance. Whilst these are discretionary, they meet the learning needs as identified by staff teams during earlier consultation and will provide a clear framework along with core badges for your professional development and provide evidence of your PRTL. Which badges individual staff undertake may be identified by managers through support and supervision.

Study Time:

  • 2 hrs study time will be given for each core badge
  • 2 hrs study time will be given for each core badge which requires updated annually. These are noted by an *
  • Time will be negotiated and agreed with your line manager – and additional time may be agreed at the discretion of your manager.


  • OB belong to the individual staff member; SiMS does not have any ownership of your badges
  • For this reason, the SSSC advise you to use your personal e-mail address to maintain and update your portfolio


  • You do not need to share the content of your OB application with any member of senior staff. You may be asked to discuss elements of an open badge to meet the required criteria but this does not include your written application.
  • Confidentiality will be maintained by a marker/verifier. Only if there are concerns will the content of a submission be disclosed- see note below.

Verifying Badges

In order for OB to be achieved and recognised they are subject to external verification.  SiMS badges are externally verified by someone appointed by SiMS; SSSC badges will be verified by the SSSC.   This external verifier will communicate direct with the OB holder and not the Manager; but staff will be required to keep a record of OB taken and achieved as part of their Learning Log that will be discussed at support and supervision. 

  • In case of concerns when verifying core badges, the marker will have an obligation to contact the Chief Executive who will decide if concerns are valid and if further action is required. Any issues identified will be discussed with your Line Manager and you will have every opportunity to address concerns raised.
  • You are entitled to request a second marker in this instance by contacting the SSSC digital team at [email protected]
  • Work which is not anonymised will be returned for you to amend
  • Work which indicates plagiarism will be returned for you to resubmit


  • A record of completed core badges will be forwarded to line managers to ensure these have been completed by all staff.
  • Your line manager will notify you if you have any outstanding badges to complete. Staff will be given additional time to complete core badges within reason and depending on the circumstances that have prevented completion; but failure to complete a mandatory badge within any agreed time could result in performance management being put in place.
  • The administrator of SiMS staff learning will hold an online record of core learning and of any SiMS’ badges completed. This is an automated process within the SSSC digital platform.

Getting Started

The OB are digital and so are accessed through our website and the SSSC website.  For an introduction to the OB please visit the staff section of the SiMS website.  If you do not have a password to access the site, please contact the Communications’ Manager in National Officer or speak to your Manager.

On the website there is:

  • An introduction to Open Badges
  • A video describing one staff member’s experience of using Open Badges
  • The SSSC short video#
  • This protocol
  • The SiMS badges
  • The SSSC badges linking with SiMS leaning 
  • Scenarios to link with SiMS badges

Extra Support for Learning

SiMS recognises that not everyone learns in the same way and it may take some staff longer to work through a badge for a variety of reasons.  If you have any specific needs to enable you to learn and achieve the mandatory open badges, please talk to your Manger so that appropriate support can be put in place.

Further Enquiries

Any enquiries about the OB, how to get started or what they mean for you should be directed to your Manager in the first instance.

SiMS Badges

Core (Mandatory)

Open Badges are digital certificates recognising learning and achievement. These have been developed by Support in Mind Scotland as part of a joint initiative with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC).

If you can demonstrate that you’ve learned from materials produced by the SSSC you can earn a Support in Mind Scotland Open Badge. Below, marked in red are the Mandatory SiMS Badges. Those marked * are required to be updated annually.  


See our staff area on the web site for a list of SSSC badges which relate to SiMS practice

Once you have read and understood the Protocol, you can now access and begin the Open Badges by clicking HERE.

Last updated April 2019