The NCS Bill has been introduced to reform the way social care and social work is delivered in Scotland whilst strengthening the integration with community health services. The proposals contained in the bill are designed to put into practice the recommendations of the Independent Review of Adult Social Care, published on 3 February 2021. The Independent Review made 53 recommendations, including that the Scottish Ministers should have statutory responsibility for social care, a National Care Service should be established, a person-centred and human-rights based approach should be taken to social care, and that Integration Joint Boards should be reformed to provide services as overseen by the National Care Service.
In addition to making recommendations, the Independent Review, along with other reports and audits, identified a number of challenges in the current approach to social care. These can be summarised as:
- Inconsistency of people's experience of social care ("postcode lottery")
- Complex and inconsistent governance arrangements
- Lack of national oversight and co-ordination
- Lack of collaborative and strategic leadership
- Non-integrated budgetary and financial planning
In developing the proposals for the National Care Service, officials have focused on addressing the above challenges.
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