Regulating care and the
Social Services Workforce
(See also submission on the Bill - January 2000)
UNISON the public sector trade union is the largest local government
union in Scotland and represents not only the majority of staff
employed in Registration and Inspection, but also the vast majority
of the Social Service workforce in Scotland.
Accordingly we deem it absolutely appropriate and in fact necessary
that we comment on the paper entitled "Regulating Care and
the Social Service Workforce.
UNISON shares the Government's objectives of ensuring improved
protection for vulnerable individuals. We think that this has to
be achieved without creating a system which unfairly threatens the
career and livelihood of social care workers. It is therefore vital
that mechanisms which ensure that staff can enter the new regulatory
framework with confidence that they will be treated with fairness
in circumstances which will inevitably be a cause of stress and
concern to them and to all involved, are vital.
In the context of legislation and regulations laid thereafter,
UNISON takes the clear view that professional and employment issues
need to be separated with employment issues being dealt with in
the context of an industrial relations framework and using existing
machinery. This issues around the regulation and/or deregulation
of social care brings in to play other legislation affecting as
they might do, employment law and the civil rights of the staff
The implementation of the proposals regarding the regulation of
care and of the workforce needs to be phased in. Not least because
of resource implications for all concerned. Also to take account
of proper service development and the very real need for staff training.
The foregoing issues might properly be addressed by the Commission
and the Council being required to present an annual report to the
UNISON now turns to the questions posed at the end of the consultative
Question 1 UNISON believes that a clearer definition
of the range of facilities to be regulated eg. the age range and
client groups covered and in terms of the types of provision, that
the range would need to be specified and defined under regulation,
including personal care and support to take account of the growing
range of provision now being individually delivered in the community.
Question 2 UNISON believes that in order to ensure
that the balance between lay members, service users and professional
interests is maintained and to ensure that there are enough council
members to carry out the workload, our view is that the question
of the size of the council be re-examined. We are of the view that
it will be very difficult to ensure that a group in the range 17-21
will be large enough to give enough flexibility to ensure that a
wide range of interests are covered by the membership of the council.
In this context UNISON also takes the view that the composition
of the Commission, must include representatives of all the client
groups and not just those representing clients' stakeholders.
In this context all component parts should have regard to ethnicity
not mere tokenism. Members reflecting service user interests will
need to demonstrate the diversity of client groups and of the communities
from which they come. As we indicated earlier, some will need to
be drawn directly from those client groups, while others will necessarily
come from advocacy groups whose speak for them.
Question 3 Asks about staffing issues and the future
role of lay or public interest members of Inspection Teams. UNISON
as the major trade union in the area and having the majority of
the members being employed by the Social Care Commission, would
expect that the terms and conditions of all employees affected,
would be protected by a section in the legislation which would contain
a proper transfer order along the lines of section 9 of the Local
Government Act 1996. TUPE in itself is insufficient in UNISON's
opinion to deal with the issues which arise from possible transfer.
It therefore follows that proper consultation and discussion would
have to take place with appropriate staff interests at the time
of transfer in order that all employee issues be dealt with properly.
UNISON would expect that a high priority would be given to establishing
a continuing training programme for all staff. UNISON would be particularly
concerned that the Commission establish a proper induction training
programme for all staff as soon as possible after transfer.
As regards a future role of lay and public interest members of
Inspection Teams, UNISON would refer again to the views expressed
in answer to Question 2 regarding the diversity of future lay or
public interest members in that they must take account and be representative
of the diversity of the client groups.
Question 4 Any definition of care services as set
out in paras. 39-40 requires to be extended to include a wide age
range and beyond the purely residential provision into personal
care and support delivered in small units or individually in the
Question 5 Relates to the requirements for Registration
and UNISON's view would be that the definition of a fit
person' is subjective and open to interpretation and challenge.
As such it would be unfair to all parties. There needs therefore
to be a clearer definition of fit person'. In our view
this might be encompassed in a code of practice. Other codes of
practice might define the management systems to be used in various
types of establishment.
7 & 8
|Turning to issues raised in these questions, UNISON's
view is that there requires to be clear and transparent processes
to deal with both enforcement and appeal. When the policy statements
relating to these areas are produced UNISON will comment further.
||UNISON recognises the importance of public confidence
in the new bodies and that this will have implications for a
single regulatory body. Again we understand that the working
group will bring forward policy statements in this area and
at that time UNISON would expect to comment further.
||Again refers to the membership of the Council
and I would refer you to our comments at Question 2 in relation
to this issue, where we indicated that the size of a Council
comprising of between 17-21 people in our view might not be
sufficiently representative to deal with the issues.
Para.109 refers the operation of the Register
and its relationship to other regulatory or registration bodies
and to the index of unsuitable adults. This whole area would
need to be fully explored and explained in the policy statement
or White Paper preceding the Bill.
I refer now to issues raised in paras. 103 and 104
and again UNISON would take the view that staff safeguards
are set out in our answer to Question 3, have to be built
into this process. The Transfer of Undertakings Protection
of Employment Regulations are not in our view strong enough
to properly safeguard staff interests here.
Para. 105 here the Scottish Executive
needs to spell out more clearly resource implications for
the establishment of the regulatory bodies. UNISON's
view is that any proposal that the cost of regulation be met
either partly or wholly by fees paid by regulated providers
is totally unrealistic. Also in this context any fees must
reflect individuals' ability to pay.
Para. 111 UNISON is concerned at the
balance of responsibility for continuing education and training
presented in the report. The report needs to spell out more
clearly the employers' duty in this respect. Previous
Government reports including the Moodie Report, explored the
need for training in this area. However the Scottish Executive
has to recognise the implications for employers and the possible
financial burden that could be placed on public and voluntary
sectors in particular.
Para. 114 Consideration needs to be
given to an extended range of staff across residential, day
care and growing area of community based provision. Clearly
this will have implications for the phasing of the registration
process and who might be included in the first waive.
UNISON recognises the registration process could have employment
implications for staff but would re-emphasise our earlier
comment regarding the necessity to separate registration and
employment in the workforce. Issues not addressed properly,
then the regulatory body would in our view be straying into
areas of employment legislation and industrial relations matters
which should be left to the direct employers rather than the
Para. 117 UNISON has a number of concerns
regarding the specifications in this para. First category
of health UNISON is concerned that this is extremely
wide ranging and we do not understand how this might impact
on an individual's ability or competence in the broadest
sense. The other reference in this para. which concerns us
is the unsuitability for work in social services. In our view
this is entirely subjective and far too sweeping. The danger
here is of inappropriate comparisons with other professional
groups other than by codes drafted against different social
and cultural environments.
Para. 132 UNISON would again reiterate
the need throughout this process for a properly resourced
education and training for all employees concerned.
UNISON welcomes the opportunity to comment on the consultation
paper. We will as indicated be prepared to comment fully on any
further working papers or policy documents which arise from the
deliberations of the working groups. We would welcome an invitation
to address the Committee directly on this submission and of course
supply any further information or evidence requested.