First steps include a £20 million Community Change Fund.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman has accepted the findings of the Independent Review of Adult Social Care, and the Scottish Government is already working to implement key recommendations.
Ms Freeman told Parliament that Derek Feeley’s Independent Review, commissioned five months ago in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, was an "important opportunity" to be bold in reshaping how social care is planned, funded and delivered.
Speaking in a debate on the review, Ms Freeman set out a number of immediate measures in response, including a new £20 million Community Living Change Fund to redesign services for people with complex needs including intellectual disabilities and autism, and for people who have enduring mental health problems. This will address some of the issues raised by the 2018 Coming Home report, about the need to avoid out of area placements and delayed discharge for people with learning disabilities and complex needs.
She said she accepted the principle of introducing a National Care Service but would continue to talk to the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) about how to address its concerns.
The Scottish Government is working to implement other measures recommended by Derek Feeley’s report. These include:
- work with local partners to end charging for non-residential care
- developing minimum standards for terms and conditions in the social care sector, to help organisations meet fair work principles by the end of May
- work to ensure there is no delay in the annual Real Living Wage uplift for Adult Social Care workers
Ms Freeman said:
“The independent review of social care gives us a clear roadmap for the future of care provision in Scotland and we believe in the recommendations in this report.
“There is immediate action that can be taken now to secure improvement. I am pleased to announce a new Community Living Change Fund of £20 million to deliver a redesign of services for people with complex needs including intellectual disabilities and autism, and those who have enduring mental health problems. We will work with local partners as quickly as practicable to end all charges for non-residential care.
“The report also recognises and highlights the critical and invaluable support that the social care workforce provide to people all over Scotland. We are looking to establish a new sector-level body to ensure an effective voice for the whole of the social care workforce to enable them to respond to local conditions and address matters of importance, and support an effective collective bargaining role in the sector. As a priority, we will work with our stakeholders to agree a national approach to implementing the real living wage for Adult Social Care workers – for 2021 and in future years.
“We want to move from a competitive market to collaboration and ethical approaches to commissioning and procurement to help embed fair work principles and improve the consistency of services. The National Care Home Contract should also embed changes which drive the Fair Work Agenda and I have asked that for the first time Union representatives should be party to the discussions on this contract.
“I understand the concern expressed by COSLA on the issue of accountability. Local government is a critical partner in taking forward the radical change the Review rightly calls for and I support. We need to work together to find the best way to secure the Review’s recommendations and the spirit of its intent.
“I believe, as the report sets out, that improving adult social care gives us an important opportunity – to improve people’s lives, to build our economy, and to invest in high-quality, fair work. This is just beginning of a process for improvement. It is now up to us to ensure a social care system that consistently delivers high quality services across Scotland – a system that is founded in fairness, equality, and human rights, and that puts lived experience at the heart of its redesign and delivery.”
The new £20m Community Living Change Fund fund will be available to health and social care integration authorities to design community-based support for people with complex needs who in the past have endured long stays in a hospital setting or had to seek care outside of Scotland.
The Independent Review of Adult Social Care can be found here: Independent Review of Adult Social Care - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)
The Coming Home report on delayed discharge and out of area placements for adults with learning disabilities and complex needs was published in 2018 and can be found here: Coming home: complex care needs and out of area placements 2018 - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)