Inclusion Scotland has co-written an open letter with Donald Macaskill from Scottish Care and 30 other organisations led by and representing disabled people and unpaid carers, urging all parties to support a National Care Service in the lead up to the Holyrood Election 2021.
Central to a new National Care Service will be making social care support the direct responsibility of a Scottish Government as well as a “relentless focus on involving people who use services, their families and carers in developing new approaches at both a national and local level”. We believe that this change to national accountability is essential. It is also essential that the new system is co-produced with deaf and disabled people and unpaid carers right from the start. Members of our People-led Policy Panel as well as hundreds of other deaf and disabled people, unpaid carers and our organisations have been part of co-producing the reform of adult social care since 2018 and have also made significant contributions to the Feeley Review. We all strongly support the recommendations of the review, including a National Care Service with national accountability, an independent complaints service and access to redress.
Derek Feeley listened to us. Now it is time for all political parties and COSLA to listen to us too. We have all been part of too many well-intentioned visions, frameworks and other initiatives that have not resulted in any change in the lives of deaf or disabled people or unpaid carers. We will not tolerate investing so much energy into a process that yet again does not result in change because of powerful vested interests who wish to maintain the status quo. We will not be let down again.
In the letter we say that we believe that the vision of a national system combined with local accountability is critical. We also express our deep concern that there should be any attempt to water down the development of a National Care Service. The current system of social care being commissioned and resourced by local authorities has not worked. There is an urgent need for change and the recommendations of the Feeley review offer us a vision for this change. The rest is up to us. We need to all work together to create a social care system that we can be proud of:
“We call upon all political parties not to limit the vision contained in the Feeley Report and to ensure that preserving the status quo of local governance and commissioning is not accepted. We owe it to the thousands who today and into the future will use social care supports and the thousands who work to deliver care both unpaid and paid, that we create a new system with those people at the heart of the re-design”
Read the letter below:
To whom it may concern,
We the undersigned are organisations which represent or are led by the many thousands of individuals who use social care supports, their informal carers/ supporters and those who provide social care services. We are all concerned that people are enabled to be citizens, not only within their own local geographical communities but society at large.
The publication of the Independent Review of Adult Social Care (Feeley Report) in February 2021 marked a culmination of an intensive period of engagement and dialogue both with those who use social care support, informal carers and those who provide and work in services. The Report was received very positively across the country with a belief that it contained both an honest description of the failures to implement progressive legislation and a vision of how things might be different, alongside what was needed to change the current systems.
A central plank of the Feeley Report was the development of a National Care Service and a change in accountability and governance arrangements which would make social care the direct responsibility of a Scottish Government. We noted the importance placed by the Report on developing and reforming local governance arrangements to ensure that the voice of those who use supports was central to decision-making and delivery, with ‘a relentless focus on involving people who use services, their families and carers in developing new approaches at both a national and local level’. We welcome the Report’s suggested enhancement of the role of Integrated Joint Boards and a National Board, both of which would have the voice of those who use social care supports at their heart.
We believe that the vision of a national system but with local accountability is critical and we are deeply concerned that there should be any attempt to water down or diminish the development of a National Care Service. The current system of social care being commissioned and resourced by local authorities has simply not worked, especially for those who matter most – those who use care support. The failures and inconsistencies of implementation at local level are well articulated within the Report and elsewhere. We believe that there is an urgent need for reform and that this must be through the development of a National Care Service with an improved system of local accountability and governance. As part of reform there needs to be an independent complaints mechanism to ensure genuine accountability, and this should be strengthened by investment in independent and peer advocacy to support people through the process.
We call upon all political parties not to limit the vision contained in the Feeley Report and to ensure that preserving the status quo of local governance and commissioning is not accepted. We owe it to the thousands who today and into the future will use social care supports and the thousands who work to deliver care both unpaid and paid, that we create a new system with those people at the heart of the re-design.
Dr Donald Macaskill, CEO, Scottish Care
Dr. Pauline Nolan, Director of Leadership and Civic Participation, Inclusion Scotland
Dr. Jim Elder Woodward, OBE, Chair, Scottish Independent Living Coalition
Janis McDonald, CEO, deafscotland
Tressa Burke, CEO, Glasgow Disability Alliance
Professor Ian Welsh, OBE, Chief Executive, Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE)
Claire Cairns, Network Coordinator, Coalition of Carers in Scotland
Etienne d’Aboville, Chief Executive, Glasgow Centre for Inclusive Living
John Ballantine, Panel Member, Edinburgh Access Panel
Arthur Cowie, Director, Lochaber Disability Access Panel
Adrian Mckill, Deputy Director, Neighbourhood Networks in Scotland Limited
Anne Farrow, Secretary, Dundee Access Panel
Colin Millar, CEO, SPAEN
Jeff Adamson, Convenor, Lothian Centre for Inclusive Living
Melanie Todd, Admin Assistant, Centre for Inclusive Living Perth and Kinross
Helen Glass, Senior Citizen Advocacy Development Worker, Include Me
Lucy MacDonald, Chair, Ise of Harris Access Panel
Maureen Martin, CEO, Edinburgh Development Group (EDG)
Scott Stewart, Manager, Disability Information Scotland
Gregor Rimel, Chair, Badenoch & Strathspey Access Panel
Sam Smith, CEO, C-Change Scotland
Sandy Kerr, Co-Founder and Manager, Pass IT On
Elisabeth Gibson, Executive Artistic Director, Project Ability
Amy Wright, Chair, Inspired Community Enterprise Trust
MECOPP – Minority Carer’s of People Project
Shared Care Scotland
Young Carer’s Services Alliance
Catriona Stewart, OBE, Organisational Development Lead, SWAN – Scottish Women’s Autism Network.