Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
Council warns against care service plans
North Lanarkshire Council has warned that the Scottish Government’s proposals for a National Care Service (NCS) could disadvantage some people, will have longlasting effects on local services and present a threat to local democracy.
The Scottish Government is consulting on the creation of a new NCS, in response to the Independent Review of Adult Social Care led by Derek Feely.
The government’s proposals go further than the review’s recommendations to include children, families and justice social work services as part of the proposed NCS.
The council’s response, led by a crossparty working group of councillors, was approved at the policy and strategy committee last month.
While welcoming the intent behind the NCS proposals in delivering improvement and investment in social work and social care, the council does not agree that the proposals as set out by the Scottish Government are the best way to achieve this.
Major issues highlighted in the council response to the consultation included the splitting-up of the council’s Education and Families Service, the proposals lacking crucial detail and not being fully costed, and the proposals presenting short and long-term risks to the council’s operating model.
Councillor Frank Mcnally chaired the working group and is the convener of education and families for the council.
He said: “This has been a challenging exercise and the council’s response recognises both the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed approach to a National Care Service.
“We welcome some of the principles around which the proposals are based.
In particular, the acknowledgement of the historic underfunding of social care is welcome, as is the promise of a 25 per cent uplift in national funding.
“But there is a lack of detail in the proposals as to how much of this funding would be needed for the establishment of the new service.
“The plans also fail to understand the complexities of social work and there remains a significant lack of detail across many aspects of the overall consultation. It is clear, however, that the plans represent a major threat to local democratic accountability over social work services.
“The best solution for North Lanarkshire would be an uplift in funding through the existing arrangements.
“This would allow us to build on the successful work done in North Lanarkshire so far, which would be far less of a risk than the NCS proposals in their current form represent.”