Public Services Reform (Scotland) Bill
- Response to the Call for Written Evidence from the Education,
Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee
The UNISON Scotland Submission
to the Scottish Parliament’s Education, Lifelong Learning and
Culture Committee on their call for written evidence for their
consideration of the Public Services Reform (Scotland) Bill
UNISON Scotland welcomes the
opportunity to respond to the call for evidence from the Education,
Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee on certain aspects of
the above Bill
UNISON Scotland has over 160,000
members in Scotland, most of whom work in the public sector
across Scotland, over 25,000 in social care and almost 400 employed
by the Care Commission, who will be affected by changes proposed
in the Bill.
UNISON Scotland will be making
a more detailed response on the general aspects of the Bill
in the call for written evidence by the Finance Committee. Therefore,
this response will only relate to the establishment of Creative
Scotland and Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland.
Section 3 - The establishment
of Creative Scotland as a new arts body replacing the Scottish
Arts Council and Scottish Screen
The provision of a single authority
responsible for advice, guidance and distribution of part of
the funding for cultural provision is not of itself, a bad decision.
However, we believe that the remit of that body and its relationship
to other cultural organisations should be much clearer.
As far as we are aware, Creative
Scotland will NOT have responsibility for key national companies,
or any co-ordination with existing national collections and
this calls into question whether this is the right organisation
to deliver the functions outlined for it.
Additionally, the creation
of a new cultural body should be done by ensuring that the majority
of board members are not from the previous bodies.
The ‘power of direction' given
to Scottish Ministers seems in itself to be unexceptional. It
does however, draw attention to the question of the remit of
Creative Scotland and its overall function.
Indeed, these questions are
not the important questions on the establishment of Creative
Scotland. Its role is confused and unclear, as is whether it
will become any different kind of organisation to the Scottish
Section 4-5: The Establishment
of Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS),
This would replace the current
Social Work Inspection Agency and Scottish Commission for the
Regulation of Care, and repeal the Joint Inspection of Children’s
Services and Inspection of Social Work Services (Scotland) Act
UNISON Scotland would generally
support the principles in the bill, namely the reduction of
quangos and the creation of Social Care and Social Work Improvement
Scotland, but we have some concerns regarding the process of
restructuring and the impact it could have on the services our
members provide and the effects on the staff who deliver them.
We are unconvinced of the benefits
of self regulation, which the recent problems in the Finance
Industry have shown to be inadequate. We believe that rigorous
regulation of services, such as child protection must be undertaken
by professionals who are able to ensure that such services meet
the standards outlined by the Scottish Government.
With regard to the operation
of the SCSWIS, UNISON would urge that it should incorporate
a duty for all employers, in the public, private and voluntary
sectors to be bound by the SSSC Code of Practice for Employers.
We are not convinced that the
anticipated savings, as outlined in the Financial Memorandum,
will occur – even in the longer term. In particular we do not
believe that money set aside for issues such as voluntary redundancies,
will be sufficient. The Government will need to ensure that
adequate resources are allocated to the new body and recognise
that the continual push for efficiencies will not help with
this. We appreciate this may reduce quango numbers, but believe
it is largely cosmetic.
We are pleased to note that
UNISON’s Scottish Regulation of Care Branch are has been involved
in discussions with the Project Team setting up the new service.
However, there are unresolved issues with the current bargaining
machinery and we hope this is the opportunity to remedy them.
There are many issues regarding terms and conditions for all
the staff who will be part of SCSWIS. For example there are
wide differences in the pay of those working for the Care Commission,
SWIA and HMIe and these will need to be resolved. We would urge
a levelling up of pay rates, rather than down and a proper system
introduced to evaluate the work carried out by all staff. For
example, all staff carry out inspections, but only current Care
Commission staff have enforcement powers, in addition to this.
With regard to inspections
of educational establishments, there will need to be thought
given to the qualifications of inspectors. For example, some
inspections in early years’ premises are currently solely undertaken
by HMIe inspectors who must have a teaching qualification and
inspect both the education and care functions of these establishments.
Care Commission staff do not currently inspect the education
functions. UNISON believes that other inspectors in the new
body, including those with early years’ qualifications should
be able to carry out these inspections. Clarification is needed
on any changes that are planned and consideration given to how
equality can be achieved within the new organisation. The standards
for all establishments are set by Ministers and will need to
be enforced equally without different rules for different sectors.
In addition, other bodies should
be involved, e.g. prisons, police and the fire service are all
involved in safety. Memorandums of understanding have been developed
with some of these bodies and clarification is required about
UNISON believes that regulation
of care services as outlined in the Bill is crucial for the
optimum delivery of services for our service users and that
as rigorous a regime as possible must be upheld across all sectors
covered by the new Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland
(SCSWIS). All service providers who are not performing or delivering
services to an acceptable standard must be made to bring those
services up to an acceptable level.
Section 86 of the Bill refers
to Transfer of Staff, etc. and UNISON would wish to see inclusion
of a specific reference to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection
of Employment) Regulations 2006.
How helpful do you find
the relevant aspects of the policy memorandum and financial
memorandum accompanying the Bill?
The policy memorandum accompanying
the Bill proved very useful in understanding some of the meanings
of the issues covered in the Bill, as legal jargon is not readily
understood by lay people. The financial memorandum was also
of use in illuminating the costs envisaged in operating the
new structures and the anticipated costs of their establishment.
Do you have any comments
on the relevant consultation the Scottish Government carried
out prior to the introduction of the Bill?
Any comments UNISON Scotland
has on the previous consultations on these issues will be covered
in its response to the Finance Committee
Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary
14, West Campbell Street,
Glasgow G2 6RX
Fax 0141-331 1203
For further information
Dave Watson, Scottish Organiser
Diane Anderson, Information