National Care Service: consultation analysis

Analysis of stakeholders' responses to our consultation on a National Care Service.

2. The respondents and responses


This section of the report describes the respondents to the consultation, the feedback on the consultation process and how the results have been analysed independently.

Respondents to the consultation

Overall there were 1,291 responses to the consultation. The majority of these (82%) were consultation form responses which were received either through the Citizen Space online portal (862) or submitted via email (152). Fifty Easy Read responses were received by email or post.

In addition, there were 298 email submissions that did not follow the consultation form structure. These responses ranged in length from individuals writing several paragraphs in an email through to organisations producing 100 page or more reports. Of these additional submissions, the vast majority (280, 94%) were from organisations: 71 of these submissions were from organisations who also submitted a consultation form response. For the purposes of the tables below, these responses have not been double counted (that is, an organisation that has submitted a consultation form response and a non-consultation form response has only been counted once as a respondent).

In line with the Scottish Government's approach to analysing consultation responses and for the purposes of this analysis, each response was treated as equal in weight. For example, if an organisational response indicated that they had consulted with their members in order to respond to the consultation and therefore were representing a large number of people, this was treated as a single response.

Respondents to the consultation stated whether they were responding as an individual or an organisation in the Respondent Information Form. In line with standard practice for the analysis of Scottish Government consultations, these self-selections have been accepted on face value and have formed the basis of our analysis of individual and organisational responses.

Type of respondent - overall
Respondent type Number Percent
Individuals 703 54%
Organisations 575 45%
Total 1,291* 100%

*There were 13 respondents who didn't select either category

The following tables further breakdown the respondents by individual type and organisation type. Please note that the second table excludes the Easy Read responses as this level of information about respondents was not collected in the Easy Read version of the questionnaire. This was due to the need to ensure the Easy Read version was not overly long.

The categories are those provided to respondents in the Respondent Information Form and have been used as the basis of the analysis. Regardless of whether a respondent indicated that they were either an individual or an organisation, they were able to answer both the type of individual question and the type of organisation question in Citizen Space. This means that it was possible for a respondent to select themselves as an individual and to then select themselves as an organisation type - for example an individual could select they are, or have been, an unpaid carer, and also that they are a local authority.

This was also possible in the opposite sense, i.e. a respondent who selected they are an organisation could then select an individual type. For the purposes of this analysis, where this has happened, the initial individual or organisation self-selection has been respected. In the above scenario, the respondent selected they were an individual, and therefore their individual type (unpaid carer) would be included in the analysis whereas their organisation type (local authority) would not be included.

Type of individual respondent - overall
Respondent type Number Percent
I receive, or have received social care or support 88 14%
I am, or have been, an unpaid carer 257 40%
A friend or family member of mine receives, or has received, social care or support 341 53%
I am, or have been, a frontline care worker 196 30%
I am, or have been, a social worker 171 26%
I work, or have worked, in the management of care services 180 28%
I do not have any close experience of social care or support 22 3%
Total 647  

As can be seen from the table above, the majority of individual responses have some experience of social care, including as a service user, unpaid carer, family connections or as a frontline care worker. Please note that this was a "select all that apply" question so some respondents will have selected more than one option therefore will not sum to 100%.

Type of organisation respondent - overall
Respondent type Number Percent
Providing care or support services - private sector 21 4%
Providing care or support services - third sector 122 22%
Independent healthcare contractor 16 3%
Representing or supporting people who access care and support and their families 100 18%
Representing or supporting carers 71 13%
Representing or supporting members of the workforce 77 14%
Local authority 56 10%
Health Board 43 8%
Integration authority 35 6%
Other public sector body 36 7%
Other 145 26%
Total 550 100%

Again, there was a wide range of organisations represented with around 56 out of the 550 (10%) organisation responses from local authorities and 122 (22%) from third sector providers. As noted above, the respondents' self-selected categorisation (i.e. individual or organisation and including subgroups) has been respected for the analysis.

Please note that the numbers in the two tables above do not total 1,291 as some respondents did not state whether they were responding from an individual or an organisational perspective.

Feedback on the consultation process

There were quite a large number of criticisms of the consultation process in all formats of submission, including Citizen Space, the offline submissions and the 34 engagement events which the Scottish Government held with stakeholders throughout the course of the consultation. In Citizen Space, a substantial proportion (33%) stated that they were dissatisfied with the process when asked "how satisfied were you with this consultation?". Over a fifth stated that they were "neither satisfied nor dissatisfied" and 44% were satisfied. Please note that this information is only available for the consultation form responses received online via Citizen Space (867 in total). However, in the consultation form responses received via email around a quarter made unprompted negative comments on the consultation process.

Overall, reasons that were provided for this feedback included:

  • The consultation document was difficult to digest in relation to its scope and length and the complexity of the issues
  • Concerns were raised about the lack of detail in the proposal and response form and the need for more information
  • The consultation period was thought to be not long enough and organisations were not able to plan for their approach. It was stated that more notice would be required in future of ongoing NCS consultation and legislative work, and next steps
  • There were questions around the timing of the consultation in relation to the pandemic, Brexit, the current stresses on the workforce and the forthcoming local government elections which will impact on the ability of local authorities to respond
  • There is a concern about the speed at which the Scottish Government is planning to bring in legislation. It was noted that there is a workforce and capacity issue in a sector which is still recovering from the pandemic
  • Concerns were raised about a perceived lack of engagement with local government and other relevant stakeholders in the development of the proposals
  • There was a view that there needs to be more public engagement and more involvement from clients and people accessing care and support: there was a particular concern about the accessibility of the Easy Read documentation and the difficulty that people with lived experience would have had in engaging with the consultation document given its length and complexity
  • There was a view that the assumptions in the document need to be tested through an impact assessment, particularly in relation to the Islands
  • Some of the questions were thought to be leading and/or unclear: it was noted on several occasions that the questions employed by the Scottish Government were leading respondents to a specific outcome
  • Respondents also thought that the NCS was already being treated as a "done deal" and that more analysis was required of what currently works well and what needs improvement
  • Some respondents also thought that the questions posed by the consultation did not reflect the reality of current structures and services
  • Several commented on the number of questions in a binary or yes/no format, which did not let them express the nuances of their opinion
  • The length of the questionnaire was said to be off putting to respondents
  • Several raised the issue of a perceived lack of a link to the Independent Review of Adult Social Care

In addition, COSLA and other local government representatives highlighted that there was a need for more engagement with their sector and that they were disappointed that they were not involved in the development of the proposals.

In the engagement meetings held by the Scottish Government, the issues raised regarding the short consultation period included a concern that some people who use/need social care services of all kinds were unable to engage fully. There were also some comments about the length of the Easy Read questionnaire. It was also mentioned in several respects that further consultations will be required as the final details of the individual proposals become clearer.

There were also some concerns that response rates may have been impacted by the length of the consultation response form. This is likely to be a contributory factor and may be reflected in the fact that only 64% of responses were made through Citizen Space. In addition, towards the end of the consultation questionnaire, there are lower levels of responses to the open-ended questions which means that the analysis of the responses is somewhat indicative. This is due in part, however, to the fact that respondents could select the sections of the consultation that were relevant to them.

About the analysis

Quantitative analysis

The quantitative analysis presents the numbers and percentages for each relevant closed question in the Citizen Space format, by individual and organisation respondent type (where appropriate and meaningful), alongside the total number of respondents for each question. The quantitative data was downloaded from Citizen Space into SPSS, a standard statistical analysis software package. A further 152 consultation form responses received via email were then data entered manually to arrive at the total number of 1,014 consultation form responses suitable for quantitative analysis. There were also 51 Easy Read responses that were also received via email and entered manually, and analysis for these is shown at the end of each relevant section.

In line with standard practice, 25% of the manual entries were double-checked to ensure the data entered was correct. All quantitative data therefore refers to consultation form responses received via either the Citizen Space portal or by email in the Citizen Space format.

Data tables were then produced to explore the differences between individuals and organisations and then by each of the subgroups presented in the table above. Differences in opinion by different groups of respondents (by individual and organisation type) were then distilled and are presented in this report where distinctive and meaningful.

Please note however, that as has been stated above, these differences are illustrative rather than definitive given the overlap in the groups. For some of the questions, there was a low number of responses per question which limited the degree of robust sub-group analysis. There is also a high percentage of agreement with many of the statements which again limits the possible analysis of the subgroups that are not in agreement.

As noted above, in relation to the Citizen Space responses that were received offline via email or letter, not all respondents indicated whether they were an individual or an organisation. For the purposes of this analysis, these cases were treated at face value, i.e. neither as an individual nor as an organisation. This means that total figures provided in this report might not match the total numbers of individuals and organisations provided in the tables in all cases.

In order to upload these responses to the online Citizen Space portal, each response had to be selected as either an organisation or an individual, otherwise the response could not be added. This means that a small number of cases (18) are coded as an organisation or individual on the Citizen Space portal, but they are not coded as such in this analysis. As such, the figures provided via Citizen Space may not match the figures in this report exactly, though these differences will be small and will not make a material difference to the results.

Qualitative analysis

Given the breadth, depth and number of the open-ended text questions, the focus has therefore been on a thematic analysis of recurring issues. The number of respondents for each Citizen Space open-ended question have been included in the relevant section of the report. Please note however, that in some instances, the respondent may not have answered the question directly but added a general comment on the consultation. Further, as discussed in the quantitative analysis section above, there are no definitive or exclusive subgroups. This has therefore impacted the ability to analyse the qualitative findings by subgroup.

The number of responses to the open-ended questions are given in each relevant section. This number excludes those respondents who submitted statements such as "not applicable", "no comment" or equivalent.

All responses that were received offline were read in full and mapped against the open-ended questions where possible. These responses were then integrated into the final analysis and reporting in relation to each question and were also scanned for themes using keyword searches.

Quotes have been included for illustrative purposes but these are not intended to be representative, given the broad range of organisations that responded to the consultation and the wide number of issues addressed in the consultation document. In some instances, these quotes have been shortened for conciseness of the overall report.

Please also note that the attributions of these quotes are indicative by groups of individuals and of organisations as respondents were able to select more than one option in relation to their experience of social care and support and could therefore respond from more than one perspective i.e. both as an unpaid carer and also employed within the sector for example. It is therefore not possible to be definitive about the perspective from which the quote was made.

Given the broad and wide-ranging nature of the questions in the consultation, the number of open-ended questions and the number of contributions, these results are relatively high level and not exhaustive. Many respondents commented that they were unable to provide comprehensive responses due to the lack of detail in the proposal but did state that they would be happy to take part in any further consultations or planning.

All consultation responses, including the detailed contributions of the 298 organisations and individuals that provided written submissions to the consultation, will be made available alongside this report and must therefore be considered in conjunction with this report to reach a full understanding of the breadth of the debate.

As with all consultations it is important to bear in mind that the views of those who have responded are not representative of the views of the wider population. Individuals (and organisations) who have a keen interest in a topic – and the capacity to respond – are more likely to participate in a consultation than those who do not. This self-selection means that the views of consultation participants cannot be generalised to the wider population.

It is important to note that some of the responses to this consultation (especially those from organisations) contained technical information and references to other published and unpublished material. It is not possible in a report such as this to fully reflect the level of detail included in these submissions. Please note that the figures in this report may not total 100% due to rounding.

Given the scope of the consultation, it is difficult to reflect all the nuances of all the responses in a single report. This document is therefore a qualitative summary of the main themes of the consultation. We would therefore strongly recommend that interested parties consult the responses that have been published alongside this report for further detail. For the same reason, we would suggest that, while we have provided high level summaries of each chapter, the full content of the chapter should be considered in order to assess the balance of views.



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