Common Weal’s Manifesto for a National Care Service

Overview —

This paper lays out the principles that should be met in any attempt to reform Scottish social care and makes the case for a fully nationalised Care Service similar in scope to our National Health Service.


The Common Weal Care Reform Group

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This paper is the first in a series of papers being developed by the Common Weal Care Reform Group – a group of experts, academics, consultants and front-line care workers who share the goal of creating a National Care Service for Scotland.

In this Manifesto, released ahead of the Scottish Government’s Independent Review of Adult Social Care the group lays out the principles of care that should be met by any proposed blueprint for Care reform and will be followed up in due course with a comprehensive blueprint for an NCS that would meet these principles and align with the values of Common Weal.


― The Covid crisis has shown up the failings of the social care system in Scotland as never before and the need for a new National Care Service alongside the NHS.

― Common Weal submitted a draft set of principles for a National Care Service to the Independent Review of Adult Social Care under Derek Feeley which is due to report by the end of January 2021.

― Common Weal has now refined and developed those principles into a Manifesto for a National Care Service which it believes should be used to judge the recommendations of the Adult Care Review

― Common Weal’s Manifesto goes beyond the remit of the Adult Social Care Review and calls for care to be considered as a whole, cradle to grave, children as well as adults. In setting up the Adult Care Review, CW believes the Scottish Government missed an opportunity to end the fragmentation of social care and also to build on the recommendations of the Independent Care Review for Children, whose recommendations – including that care services for children should be not for profit – were accepted by the First Minister last February

― If adopted, the principles in the manifesto would result in:

– All care being not for profit, in contrast to the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Jeane Freeman,  who recently said the Scottish Government wouldn’t nationalise care

– Care provision being free at the point of use, like the NHS

– Care and support being provided to all who need it, reversing the cuts since the impositions of austerity

–  The current care system being transformed through a recognition that relationships are central to what makes good care, not a tick list of tasks

–  Care provision becoming far more preventive, reversing the trend to focus on those with “priority” needs

–  Care provision being designed from the bottom up, instead of the top down

– The entire workforce being paid local authority rates and being properly trained

– Service Users, Informal Carers and the workforce being given control where it matters, instead of the current tokenistic emphasis on rights

― Common Weal believes these principles reflect the aspirations that many people in Scotland have for a new National Care Service. Common Weal has serious concerns about the extent to which the recommendations of the Feeley Review will deliver any of those aspirations which what has prompted us to publish the manifesto now.

― The Care Reform Group is using these principles to develop a new blueprint for a National Care Service which will be published in due course.

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