A National Care Service for Scotland 

The Scottish Government's consultation setting out proposals for a National Care Service closed on the 2nd of November. For the duration of the consultation period, we have engaged extensively with our members, people who use social work services, their carers and other key stakeholders. We want to extend our thanks to all those who took the time to share their views on the proposals, either through our survey or at the various engagement events we and others held.

Read a letter to Members from our Chair, Jude Currie, here. 

Read our press statement, here. 

The Scottish Government published its analysis of the consultation in February, which you can read here. The National Care Service Bill is due to be introduced to parliament in June. 

Our response 

Read our full response to the consultation, here.  SASW has also submitted an additional paper pulling together the issues more specific to social work to enable a focussed perspective on and from the profession. You can read this, here. 

Our key messages to Government include: 

  • A social model of care and support based in human rights, equalities, and inclusion. With a focus on equalities including anti-racism, the impact of poverty and disadvantage must be explicitly recognised and connected to other Government policy workstreams  
  • Social work should be an accessible, trusted and stigma-free public service.
  • Social workers must be able to practice in early intervention and prevention to improve outcomes, return balanced caseloads and contribute to ensuring that social work and social care are attractive and sought-after career choices. 
  • Social work’s three specialisms (adults’, children’s and justice services) must be located together to ensure effective support to people when they need it at all life stages. This needs thought and careful assessment of the options. 
  • Changes to structures and governance arrangements must simplify the experience for people using services and those who support them.   


What happens next?

This consultation is the first step in the creation of a National Care Service, and the first of several opportunities for influence. A Government Programme will follow to address necessary changes to legislation, governance, structure and practice. SASW commits to focusing our engagement on improving outcomes for the people who use social work services, and, at the same time, promoting our skilful and passionate workforce. We will continue to speak up on behalf of the profession and keep you informed and engaged through our bulletins and events. If you would like to get more involved in this work, we often run short-life focus groups and would really love you to be able to contribute directly. If you're interested, please email the SASW team on scotland@basw.co.uk. 

The Scottish Government is currently hosting a series of social work policy panel meetings for frontline social workers to feedback to government officials their views on how to improve social work practice through the National Care Service. The meetings take place virtually on the first Tuesday of the month, 1.00-2.30. A newsletter is created following each meeting to keep everyone informed on the content of the discussions and topics for future meetings. If you would like to hear more information about the panel or register your interest in attending the meetings, please contact jonny.adamson@basw.co.uk 

Useful Resources, Documents & Articles

You can read COSLA's position on the launch of the consultation, here. They claim it 'cuts through the heart of governance and localism in Scotland'. 

CCPS' initial response to the consultation can be read here. They broadly welcome the proposals. 

UNISON produced this briefing paper on the consultation which outlines their position, linking to their 'Care after covid' vision for social care. 

The Alliance have yet to publish a formal position statement, but you can find out more about their work, here. 

Inclusion Scotland and Scottish Care have been vocal about their support of a National Care Service. Read their open letter on the recommendations of the Feeley review, here. 

Designing a National Care Service- Nick Kempe (Common Weal, 12.05.22).