National Care Service: equality impact assessment

Equality impact assessment for the National Care Service (Scotland) Bill.

Executive Summary

This is a summary of the full Equalities Impact Assessment (EQIA) conducted on the National Care Service (Scotland) Bill. The findings here are based on local EQIAs conducted by separate Scottish Government divisions into the impacts of a National Care Service (NCS) on people in protected characteristic groups to whom their policies apply. Those findings are based on desk based research, independent analysis of consultation and stakeholder engagement feedback.

The EQIA process has found that the Bill, as introduced, will have a positive impact on the protected characteristics by taking a person-centred and human rights approach to improving the quality and consistency of social work and social care services in Scotland.

The NCS will aim to improve people's experiences of accessing social work and social care support, increase prevention and early intervention, and to ensure that social work and social care support (both for people with support needs and unpaid carers) is human rights-based and outcomes-focused. The NCS will aim to ensure everybody in Scotland can access a consistent social work or social care support service, while noting the importance of local decision making and flexibility, and also that they can access early intervention and preventative support.

The Scottish Government will co-design parts of the National Care Service that will operate at national level with people who access and deliver social work and social care support, delivery partner and stakeholders This will include co-designing a Charter of Rights, a national complaints process, and an electronic social care and health record.

Local care boards will continue to play a crucial role in the design and delivery of services that people access directly for social work and social care support. We will work with them to support a consistent approach to co-design across the country.

In conducting this EQIA we found that the National Care Service, at a national level, will put in place measures to address the recommendations of the Independent Review of Adult Social Care. This will include addressing inconsistencies in standards of care across the country and shifting the focus to preventative care and early intervention. At a local level it will enable local care boards to work directly with stakeholders and organisations working with protected characteristics, to further explore ways to improve engagement and representation.

Further positive impacts will arise from the NCS Charter, which will provide clarity as to what people can expect from the NCS and empower them to claim their rights, including with regards to complaints and redress.

We found that the NCS will have a positive impact on the social work and social care workforce as it will aim to address inconsistencies across the sector in access to and provision of training and development. The establishment of a National Social Work Agency will invest in the social work profession through improved workforce planning, leadership, career progression, training and development.

We further found that carers, many of whom belong to one of the protected characteristics, will benefit from the provision for a right to breaks.

The EQIA also identified some potential negative impacts. However, in all areas it is recognised that a co-design approach must be taken throughout the creation of the NCS as policies are developed. They must be discussed with the people they affect most, and further impact assessments must be conducted.



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