National Care Service consultation: Concerns over lack of detail for children’s services and unrealistic timeframe
10 November 2021
Children in Scotland has responded to the Scottish Government’s Consultation on the National Care Service, raising concerns about a lack of clarity in the proposals, the complexities of the proposed new structure and the timeframe of implementation.
Although recognising the value of creating a more coherent system, we are concerned about how the proposals align with commitments to improve work in a number or areas, including through The Promise and transitions for children and young people with support needs.
Reflecting the concerns from our membership, we highlight a lack of communication with the children’s sector and clarity on how children’s services will be fully integrated.
We share concerns, drawn from our membership and consultation activity, that the key role of the third sector is missed in the consultation documents, and worry the heavy focus on social work and statutory services will only exacerbate the lack of parity between third sector and statutory services.
We also question the rationale of implementing significant structural change at a time when families and support services are struggling to recover from the impact of the pandemic.
Amy Woodhouse, Head of Policy, Projects and Participation, said:
“The proposals are complex, with potentially significant consequences for those who deliver and access children’s and youth services.
"We share our members' concerns over the lack of detail in how the children’s sector and the services currently offered would be integrated into the new structure and both the short and long-term implications of doing so.
“We suggest the Scottish Government undertakes a more detailed analysis of the evidence relating to outcomes for children and young people through the range of structures that currently exist, investing in strengthening those and seeing through their commitments to change and improvement before undertaking such complex and significant structural change.
“With this in mind, we believe the proposed timeframe of introducing National Care Service legislation before summer 2022 is unrealistic and call for the government to review and adjust their plans accordingly.”
Our response also calls for more consideration of the potential impact on funding across non-statutory children’s services, how a new GIRFE (Getting it right for Everyone) approach would work in practice and evidence of a child rights and wellbeing approach to the National Care Service plans.