Publication - FOI/EIR release

Information regarding the Social Care Staff Support Fund: FOI release

Published: 28 Sep 2021

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Published:
28 Sep 2021
Information regarding the Social Care Staff Support Fund: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202100228486
Date received: 5 Aug 2021
Date responded: 2 Sep 2021
Information requested

Information outlined below on the Social Care Staff Support Fund.

For the period since the scheme started and up to the most recent data point:

1. The amount of money paid out.

2. How many staff this relates to (or similar measurement, such as the number of individual claims, if this is not possible).

3. Please could these figures (amount paid out and the number of staff this relates to), be broken down by social care provider (by social care provider, you refer to the company that runs the care home or service).

You noted that if meeting this request is likely to surpass the cost limit allowed under FOISA, please could we start with the social care providers that have received the most money and work down the list until the cost limit is reached.

Response

In response to question 1, while our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested. This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested.

We do not have the total amount of money paid out from the Social Care Staff Support Fund (the Fund). The majority of claims to the Fund are made by delegated services (services which are delegated to an Integration Authority). These claims are processed by the relevant Integration Authority, who then make the payment to social care providers using funding that the Scottish Government have allocated.

Further information on why we do not have this information is provided in the Annex to this letter.

We only have the total cost for non-delegated services (services which are not delegated to an Integration Authority). For non-delegated services, we make grant payments to Local Authorities, therefore, we have these figures available. The total cost claimed by Local Authorities for the Social Care Staff Support Fund was £186,301.62, this figure covers the period from March 2020 to March 2021. A breakdown of this cost by Local Authority is provided in table 1.

Table 1: Total cost claimed from the Fund by Local Authority

Local Authority Total cost claimed from the Support Fund
Fife Council £107,866.95
Dundee City Council £24,978.00
City of Edinburgh Council £23,414.75
Dumfries & Galloway Council £19,219.85
Stirling Council £7,321.39
South Lanarkshire Council £3,500.68
  £186,301.62

In relation to questions 2 and 3, in September 2020 and March 2021, the Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland (CCPS) and Scottish Care surveyed their members to establish how many workers have benefited from the Social Care Staff Support Fund, and shared the results with us.

A total of 9 responses were received for the CCPS survey in September 2020. Of those who responded, 3 social care providers had accessed the Fund to provide support to 295 members of staff. The number of staff broken down by provider was 195, 90 and 10.

In March this year, CCPS surveyed their members again and received around 50 responses. The feedback estimated that around 234 workers had received financial support from the Fund (one member surveyed could not provide exact figures). In April this year, Scottish Care surveyed 72 of their members, and confirmed that 70 of these social care providers had accessed the Fund. We do not hold the names of the social care providers who responded to these surveys in March and April.

Please be aware that the surveys described above were carried out by CCPS and Scottish Care. This data has not been audited and there may be some duplication in the figures from September and March. Scottish Government does not hold any further data on these surveys, and we cannot confirm the accuracy of the information provided. It is worth noting that the number of member providers who responded to the surveys by CCPS and Scottish Care was small, and therefore does not reflect the use of the Social Care Staff Support Fund across the wider social care sector. Further information explaining why we do not have the level of detail you requested is provided in the annex to this letter.

An exemption applies

An exemption under section 30(c) of FOISA (prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs) applies to some of the information requested. It is essential for officials to be able to communicate, often in confidence, with external stakeholders on a range of issues, including the Social Care Staff Support Fund. Disclosing the content of these communications, particularly without the consent of the stakeholder, is likely to undermine their trust in the Scottish Government and will substantially inhibit communications on this type of issue in the future. These stakeholders will be reluctant to provide their views fully and frankly if they believe that their views are likely to be made public, particularly while these communications relate to a sensitive issue such as the amount of funding claimed by individual social care providers, and how many of their staff have required financial support from the Fund. This would significantly harm the Government’s ability to carry out many aspects of its work, and could adversely affect its ability to gather all of the evidence it needs to make fully informed decisions.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosing information as part of open, transparent and accountable Government, and to inform public debate. However, there is a greater public interest in allowing Ministers and officials a private space within which to communicate with appropriate external stakeholders as part of the process of exploring and refining the Government’s position on the financial support made available to social care providers in responding to the coronavirus pandemic, until the Government as a whole can adopt a decision that is sound and likely to be effective. This private space is essential to enable all options to be properly considered, so that good decisions can be taken based on fully informed advice and evidence, such as that provided by CCPS and Scottish Care, who represent social care providers in the voluntary and private sectors. Disclosure is likely to undermine the full and frank discussion of issues between the Scottish Government and these stakeholders, which in turn will undermine the quality of the policy and decision making process, which would not be in the public interest.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG