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Social care charities “not consulted” on a National Care Service deal 

This news post is 9 months old

The groups made the claim at Holyrood despite a commitment to co-designing the service.

Social care charities in Scotland have warned they were “not consulted” on work to create a National Care Service despite a commitment from the Scottish Government to co-designing the model. 

Organisations supporting those in social care and with lived experience told the Scottish Parliament’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee they feel “used” by a “backroom” partnership national care service deal. 

Ministers announced this summer that the legal responsibility for the overhaul would be shared between three public bodies, the Scottish Government, Cosla and the NHS.

Dr Jim Elder-Woodward, convener of Inclusion Scotland, has now said third sector organisations and those with lived experiences were not consulted in the agreement.

He said: “Though we were excited and very keen to be part of the co-design, this announcement has made us feel that we have been used.

“This decision was taken behind our backs and we (feel) we are not truly part of the system which takes our experiences and knowledge into consideration.

“We have been used by this co-production and we are really disappointed.”

Committee MSPs were told that social care users were intended to be the “essential pillars” for the service’s formation, but the latest agreement failed to consult other stakeholders.

Legislation to begin the work to create the National Care Service is currently on hold, after a delay was announced earlier this year. 

Rachel Cackett, chief executive of the Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS), told the committee: “We were deeply disappointed that a Bill which purports to be about co-production and engagement ended up with a deal done quietly behind closed doors, which we certainly were not involved in.”

Dr Donald Macaskill, chief executive of Scottish Care, told the committee: “The lack of political engagement by Scottish Government and Cosla I have never seen the like of before is placing social care providers in real peril, but much more importantly is placing citizens around the country in very real risk of having packages of care withdrawn.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson told STV: “It is crucial that we build a National Care Service that best meets the needs of the people it will serve.

“As we do so, we are committed to working with people with lived experience of using, or working in, social care and community healthcare, as well as councils, trade unions and other partners.

“We engaged with these key stakeholders extensively over the summer period.

“We will co-design the detail of how the NCS is delivered within the framework set out in the Bill, as well as reaching a consensus with our stakeholders on shared accountability.

“The planning for this winter started earlier than ever before.

“It is the culmination of the huge amount of planning and preparatory work which has been under way across the whole system for several months.

“We have worked tirelessly with Cosla and our valued partners in the social care and social work sectors over the past months to ensure actions which will help address short-term issues are included within our winter planning.

“In 2023-24 funding of more than £19 billion is provided for health and social care, to support recovery and secure sustainable frontline services including more than £1.7 billion investment in social care and integration.

“Funding for social care has increased by over £800 million compared to 2021-22 – well ahead of the trajectory to meet our commitment to increase funding for social care by 25% over the life of the Parliament.”



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David Hansen
9 months ago

I said some time ago that, if the Scottish Government were not careful, this would go the way of the centralisation of police and fire services, where improvements in the service for the public are hard to find. In that reorganisation the Scottish Government only spoke with their big consultancy cronies. I was told that would definitely not happen this time round.

However, something similar appears to have happened. A small number of groups have been involved in the big decisions, after which other groups will be asked to make minor suggestions about a system the major elements of which have already been decided by the small group and which "cannot be changed".

This is exactly the way politicians/officials impose roads on communities. "We have decided that there is to be a big road between points A and B. Would you like the big road for follow Route 1, Route 2 or Route 3?" Communities are not allowed to suggest that they don't want a big road, want a railway instead and want the existing road to be traffic calmed. This approach gives the illusion of choice to communities, while actually leaving all the power in the hands of the well-off. it is a sleight-of-hand.

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