Council / National care service agreement ‘removes uncertainty’, council says

CONFIRMATION that staff will continue to be employed by local authorities and councils will still be responsible for assets like buildings and the delivery of services under any future national care service (NCS) in Scotland has been welcomed locally.

A spokesperson for Shetland Islands Council said it “removes uncertainty and provides security to our care workforce that we will remain their employer”.

New governance arrangements will be introduced to ensure “consistently high levels of service across the country”, according to the Scottish Government, while “building the flexibility to meet varying community needs at a local level”.

There has been significant concern in Shetland about the Scottish Government’s plans to bring the country’s care system under one framework, including from the council and integration joint board, which covers health and social care.

The feeling is that a one size fits all approach will not work. In Shetland services are largely delivered by the council, whereas on the mainland some private companies are involved, and there is said to be a high standard of care.


The government says a national service would harmonise and improve standards across the country.

But it announced today (Wednesday) that an initial agreement has been reached with local government and the NHS about accountability arrangements under a future national service.

The agreement aims to establish who will be responsible for people’s care once the national care service is established.

Overall legal accountability will be shared between Scottish Government, the NHS and local government.

A spokesperson for Shetland Islands Council said: “The council had expressed significant concern that the NCS proposals unnecessarily centralised responsibility and decision making for social work/ social care services.

“The council articulated its position that services should be designed and delivered as close as possible to the people that use them, ensuring resources are targeted in the most flexible and effective way to meet the needs of local people.

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“The council therefore welcomes the agreement secured on the accountability arrangements under the NCS as an important first step, enabling councils to continue to deliver social care and social work functions directly.”

Social care minister Maree Todd said: “This partnership between the Scottish Government, Local Government and the NHS helps establish where responsibility for people’s care will sit under the National Care Service.

“The detail of how this will work at a local level will be developed in the coming months and we will continue to update parliament on this work, along with the results of our ongoing co-design events taking place across the country, after the summer recess.”

COSLA’s health and social care spokesperson Councillor Paul Kelly said: “We hope by setting out the continued role of local authorities in delivering social care and social work functions, and staff remaining employed within councils, we offer comfort and stability to the local government workforce.”

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