STUC 2023 – Against the National Care Service Bill, for a real national care service

Congress delivered a stinging condemnation of the Scottish Government’s National Care Service Bill. With a call from UNISON that the Bill should be scrapped and discussions started about a real National Care Service.

Congress noted the Bill if passed will not be setting up a system like the NHS to directly deliver services and won’t remove profit from care.

The National Care Service (Scotland) Bill puts the future of up to 75,000 council workers and an unknown number of NHS workers into question; jeopardises future pension provision for staff who transfer out of local government or the NHS to whoever the proposed Care Boards issue contracts to, and risks damaging the pension funds of staff who remain in local government.

Moving the composite UNISON’s Kate Ramsden told Congress

“The NCS bill is an outsourcers’ charter

The way it will be set up, with Care Boards commissioning services, paves the way for massive outsourcing and privatisation

Just at the time when we are seeing the huge folly of outsourcing in social care services”

Even if councils win contracts it will be on a commissioning basis and they will have to tender again at regular intervals with no guarantee they will again win the contract.”

The pledges given by the First Minister to Congress yesterday when delegates were told that he will seek a compromise where “staff remain locally employed, with local co-design and delivery of services” Kate, herself an Aberdeenshire social worker, informed Congress that only this morning unions and others were informed that Ministerial responsibility for social work had been removed from the Minister for social work and given to the Cabinet secretary for justice.

Kate  finished her speech by making the call for the Scottish Government to scrap a plan so poorly drawn up, they have already been forced to delay it twice.

“This bill needs to be withdrawn and a proper process of engagement begun including with service users, communities, councils and unions, to create the kind of NCS we all want to see.”

Conference passed the composite overwhelmingly