This briefing looks at what the National Care Service Bill means for UNISON’s social work members. The government is clear in its view that who provides social work and social care services makes no difference in terms of the quality of services provided to citizens and therefore no difference whether services are provided by the public, private or the voluntary sector. The changes discussed here are intended to be in place by 2025/26.
Statutory duties for social work are being transferred from local authorities to Scottish Ministers but will sit with the local Care Boards, who will also hold the funding. Once their statutory duties are removed, local authorities will have no reason to employ any social workers or provide any social work services. The Bill addresses this by introducing a clear legal basis for them to continue doing so.
The possibility that the NCS could directly deliver social care and social work services is the single most significant difference between the Bill and the proposals put out to Consultation.
The National Care Service Bill has profound implications for social work staff and for the future delivery of social work services. It creates risks for social workers’ conditions and security of employment and branches need to urgently discuss what this means for members.