Social Work Scotland welcomes this week’s consultation on a National Care Service. We see it as an opportunity to consider what social work and social care professionals need in order to deliver the support and protection that people, families and communities are calling for. Support that is accessible, tailored, flexible and empowering. Support that draws people back into community and society, rather than widening the gaps.
The Scottish Government have set out an ambitious proposal for a social care system that offers wrap-around, high-quality, person-centred care, and we agree that the system we have now isn’t fit for purpose. That’s partly because social work is often relegated to a resource management role. We think that an empowered social work profession is the key to unlocking ambitions for societal change through social care. In balancing a person’s needs, rights and wishes for support, social work is uniquely equipped to ensure a National Care Service is about more than just a transaction of asking for and getting a care package or service. Often people who need the most support are least able to ask for it.
If the proposals outlined in this consultation come to pass, it would mean the most significant shake-up of public services in seventy years. We know that the process of reform would be disruptive, creating risks and threatening established services without any certainty that new structures and policies will deliver the improvements needed. We also know that without substantial investment (over and above what the Scottish Government has already promised) the reforms will likely fall short of the ambitions set out.
But change is needed, and at Social Work Scotland we will be weighing the implications of the proposals carefully, inviting our members to share their expertise and lived experience about what works in delivering great care and support. Over the next few months, we aim to engage widely, helping to promote a better understanding of social work and social care, and building common ground about what’s important: making positive change in the lives of Scotland’s people.