Regulating of Care (Scotland) Bill
1.1 UNISON, the public sector union, is the largest trade union
in Scotland, representing members across the range of public services,
but particularly health and local government services. UNISON represents
not only the majority of staff employed in Registration and Inspection
Services at present, but also the vast majority of the social service,
residential and social care workforce in the public and voluntary
1.2 We have in membership those who will provide the core of the
registration and inspection functions of the Commission and those
who will be the subjects of the register administered by the council.
It is therefore appropriate and necessary that UNISON comments on
2.1 We welcome the provisions of the Bill and measures to strengthen
and support a common system of registration and inspection and the
maintenance of professional standards of the workforce, to raise
standards of practice and to protect people who use the services.
UNISON shares the Scottish Executive's objectives of ensuring improved
protection for vulnerable individuals, securing public confidence
in the provision of the range of care and recognising that this
will in large part depend upon a stable workforce, properly trained,
educated and remunerated.
2.2 We believe that these objectives can be achieved without creating
a system which unfairly threatens the career and livelihoods of
social care workers and those currently employed in registration
and inspection services. It is vital that mechanisms are in place
which ensure a smooth transition for registration and inspection
staff and that the workforce can enter the new regulatory framework
with the confidence that they will be treated with fairness in circumstances
which will inevitably cause stress and concern. The success of the
legislation in meeting its objectives will depend upon those charged
with its implementation and those working to deliver the social
3.1 In the context of the legislation and subsequent regulations
and codes of practice, 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. The issues around the regulation and/or
de-regulation of social care bring into play other legislation,
affecting as they may do the employment rights and civil rights
of staff concerned.
3.2 The implementation of the proposals regarding the regulation
of care and the workforce needs to be phased in, not least because
of the resource implications for current employees, but to take
account of proper service development and the very real need for
staff training, both R&I and the workforce.
4. In summary, UNISON in its evidence at the consultation stages
prior to the production of the Bill, has generally welcomed the
changes, has highlighted the implications for education and training
for registration and inspection staff and those who will come within
the scope of the register, and has identified staffing and employment
issues. We would wish to address some of these in more detail, referring
to the Schedules.
5.1 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 Commission
governing body should be re-examined. We are of the view that it
will be difficult to ensure that a group of 17 -- 21 will be large
enough to give enough flexibility to ensure a wide range of interests
are covered by the membership. In this context UNISON also takes
the view that the composition of the Commission must include representatives
of all client groups and not just those representing clients' stakeholders.
All component parts should have regard to ethnicity not mere tokenism.
Members reflecting service users interests will need to demonstrate
the diversity of client groups and the communities from which they
5.2 UNISON as the major trade union in the area and having the majority
of members transferring to the staff of the Commission, would expect
that the terms and conditions of all employees affected would be
protected by something stronger than a commitment to the principles
of TUPE and would contain a proper transfer order along the lines
of Section 9 of the Local Government Act 1996. TUPE in itself, even
if applied, would be insufficient to deal with the issues which
arise from transfer. It therefore follows that proper consultation
and discussion should take place with the appropriate employers
organisations, trade unions, Executive and Commission prior to and
at the time of transfer, in order to ensure a satisfied workforce.
5.3 Staff who may be subject to transfer have a range of concerns
around proposed locations, staffing structures and grades, job descriptions
and qualifications, conditions of work (eg home working), continuity
of service, continuity of service with current employers, training.
The Bill, explanatory notes and seminars have not provided sufficient
clarity to reassure staff.
5.4 The experience in England has illustrated some benefits in negotiating
and consulting on a unified set of conditions prior to transfer.
This has allowed a rationalisation of various inherited conditions
of service, given staff important information to consider and make
an informed choice on future career or consider alternatives to
transfer or continued employment.
5.5 We would urge the Executive to adopt this prior approach as
essential to providing a stable workforce which will be essential
to a smooth transition and implementation.
5.6 UNISON would expect that a high priority would be given to establishing
a continuing training programme for all staff. We are particularly
concerned that the Commission should establish a proper induction
training programme on the legislation and systems prior to and after
5.7 The proposal that the cost of regulation be met by fees from
the regulated providers is unrealistic. There is a danger that the
ultimate "purchasers", the clients, will bear the burden
of additional costs.
6.1 The comments made at paragraph 5.1 regarding the composition
of the Commission similarly apply to the Council where appropriate
places should be identified for trade unions. The credibility of
the registration and appeal processes will benefit from the industrial
relations experience of the trade unions both in its application
and ability to distinguish professional and employment issues.
6.2 UNISON recognises that the registration process could have employment
implications for staff but would emphasise our earlier comment regarding
the necessity to separate registration and employment in the workforce.
Issues not addressed properly could lead to the regulatory body
straying into areas of employment legislation and industrial relations
which should be left with employers.
6.3 UNISON is concerned at the balance of responsibility for continuing
education and training presented in the consultation papers and
explanatory notes. There needs to be a greater financial commitment
to pursuing the objectives of a better trained and qualified workforce,
particularly in the residential sectors. A range of Government reports,
in abstract and into particular cases, have emphasised the need
for a greater commitment of resources if the objectives of the legislation,
adequate care and public confidence are to be achieved.
6.4 We welcome the intention to phase registration requirements
to particular groups. However the phases to be included are unclear.
The phasing should not be seen as an alternative to funding training
required to secure registration.
6.5 UNISON would repeat our view expressed in relation to the Commission
and that the costs of registration be met either partly or wholly
by fees paid by registrants being totally unrealistic. Any fees
must reflect the individuals' ability to pay.
7. UNISON has welcomed the principles of the Bill and the opportunity
to participate in consultation and to address the Committee. We
hope to have similarly constructive engagement with the Executive
Implementation Team and COSLA in addressing the range of staffing
issues in particular.
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