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National Care Service Bill ‘may have no positive influence’, association says

In a letter to the Scottish Government, the Scottish Association of Social Workers (SASW) says the proposed National Care Service Bill as it stands could even make things worse.

29/05/24

National Care Service Bill ‘may have no positive influence’, association says

The leading social work association in Scotland is warning of growing concerns that the National Care Service Bill will not deliver the social work and social care services that are needed.

Since the Independent Review of Adult Social Care was published in 2021, lawmakers in Scotland have been working on the Bill to make the policy proposal a reality.

The Scottish Association of Social Work (SASW) says it has been trying to secure a version of the Bill that can definitively improve social care and social work, both for people who work in services and people who need support – however, the proposed version of this Bill will not do this and could even make things worse.

The Association voiced its concerns in a letter to Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, Neil Gray, along with the Health, Sport and Social Care Committee, and the Office of the Chief Social Work Adviser.

“Our aim remains that the Bill should meet the aspirations of supported people and the ambitions of social workers whose role is central to the delivery of the Bill’s intended outcomes,” the letter said.

“As the plans for the Bill have changed over the last year, we have consulted with our members, governing committee, and key stakeholders. SASW is now significantly concerned that the Bill will not deliver the social work and social care services that are so urgently needed. We are concerned the Bill may have no positive influence and could make an already overly complex and confused system worse.”

SASW says its intention is to push for a bill that its members can support, and has set out expectations for the Government amendments ahead of the next stage parliamentary scrutiny.

“SASW remains committed to a National Care Service Bill that will really improve things for people. But time is running short in what has been a lengthy and at times frustrating process,” Alison Bavidge, National Director of SASW, said.

“That is why we have this week reiterated to the Scottish Government that the Bill must create a simpler system, improve the availability of support, offer consistency of access and eligibility across Scotland reduce bureaucracy, embed a rights-based relational approach to social services, and create clearer lines of accountability.

“We believe that without concerted effort the NCS Bill will be an opportunity missed. But there is still time to make this Bill a vehicle for the change that is so desperately needed.”

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