UNDERSTANDING what we spend on social care, including support for older people and people with disabilities, mental health conditions or other needs, is critical as we consider a National Care Service, a response by Social Work Scotland states today [Friday 17 June 2022].
The statement is part of a response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on proposed changes to Local Authority Financial Return for Social Work services.
In the consultation, Scottish Government propose to stop collecting national expenditure statistics on care for these groups of people, but only for ‘Adult Social Care’ as a whole. The reason given is that the quality of such data is poor. But rather than just delete the collection of this information, Social Work Scotland believes that solutions can be developed to solve these issues, and state our willingness to assist the government and other partners to improve the data quality of this key information.
Elsewhere, the Scottish Government has acknowledged that better planning and management information will be needed for the new National Care Service, and it is essential that this includes improved financial information.
As well as being useful to develop a National Care Service, Social Work Scotland believes it is important to use that information to help plan nationally for services and workforce to ensure we have what we need to support people in the way that matches the Government’s ambitions.
Social Work Scotland’s convenor, Alison White, said “These proposed changes would mean that councils would stop providing any separate data about what’s spent on social care for older people, and for adults with a learning or physical disability, or with mental health or other needs for help.
“We all know that social care is already overwhelmed, and there are huge challenges in recruitment; it makes no sense to cut what we can use to address this in the run-up to a National Care Service in Scotland.”
Notes for editors:
Significant sums of public expenditure are involved in providing care and support: in 2020-21, £2.3 billion for older people, and £933 million for adults with a learning disability, for example. https://www.gov.scot/publications/scottish-local-government-finance-statistics-slgfs-2020-21/ (LFR03)
While Social Work Scotland agrees that there are problems with the quality of these statistics, we do not think that is a valid reason to stop collecting them.In our response to the Scottish Government’s consultation published this week on our website we set out a plan to improve the data quality and look forward to discussing this with them, and other partners.
Social Work Scotland’s report ‘Setting the Bar’ details the issues facing recruitment and retention of social workers currently and highlights the importance of data in planning for the future.
Read our full response to the consultation on social care financial statistics here
Communications & Engagement Manager, Social Work Scotland