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Fixing The National Care Service Bill

Overview —

Proposed amendments to the National Care Service (Scotland) Bill that, if adopted, would bring the NCS closer to the vision laid out in Common Weal’s policy paper Caring For All.

Credits—

Common Weal Care Reform Group

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Common Weal set out a detailed vision for what a genuinely transformative National Care Service should look like in Caring for All. The Scottish Government’s National Care Service Bill, not only falls a long way short of this but have introduced proposals which will damage our care system even further, including increased ministerial control over most aspects of the planning and delivery of services. Such was the degree of opposition that the Scottish Government was forced to pause the legislative process to reconsider its plans.

The lengthy ‘pause’ resulted in not a single change to draft legislation and Scottish Ministers then broke their promise that they would present their amendments to the Scottish Parliament before the Stage 1 Reading, announcing a new plan that their amendments would first be considered by a new Expert Legislative Advisory Group (ELAG). The ELAG consisting of a host of organisations, including Common Weal, has turned out to be yet another general stakeholder group which was asked to consider the policy intentions behind possible Scottish Government amendments rather then any actual amendments to the Bill and was given no opportunity to make its own suggestions as to what amendments might be required.

Common Weal does not believe this is sufficient, has no faith in the current process or that it is likely to lead to the creation of a National Care Service fit for purpose in Scotland. In this document therefore we set out detailed amendments which we believe are necessary to make this legislation fit for purpose and can provide a benchmark against which the Scottish Government’s own amendments, when they are eventually published, can be judged.

Our proposed amendments which follow are to the text of the Bill as set out by the Scottish Government at Stage One. The text we believe should be deleted is marked in yellow highlighter and the text to be substituted or added is in red. Annex A starts with an explanation of why the Bill is not fit for the purpose, including its most significant omissions, and is then followed by a brief policy rationale for each of the changes proposed.

We would welcome feedback on our proposals (send to hello@common.scot) which are intended to promote thought on how the Bill could be made fit for the purpose and not as the last word.

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