Public Services Reform (Scotland) Bill - Response
to the Call for Written Evidence from the Health and Sport Committee
The UNISON Scotland Submission
to the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport 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 Scottish
Parliament’s Health and Sport 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 60,000 in the NHS, SNHS25,000 in social
care and almost 400 employed by the Care Commission, who will
all 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 64r response to the call for written evidence by the Finance
Committee. Therefore, this response will only relate to the
establishment of Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland
and Healthcare Improvement Scotland.
Social Care and Social Work
Improvement Scotland (SCSWIS)
- Will the amalgamation of the
Care Commission and the Social Work Inspection Agency create
a more cohesive scrutiny system?
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 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.
Healthcare Improvement Scotland
- Will the establishment of Health
Improvement Scotland lead to improvements in the registered
independent healthcare services and the NHS in Scotland?
UNISON Scotland supports the
creation of Healthcare Improvement Scotland which we believe
will continue the work currently undertaken by NHS Quality Improvement
Scotland and mean a bringing together of the regulation of most
healthcare services across the NHS and the independent sector.
Unfortunately, there is very
little information about how the new body will operate, which
makes it difficult to comment in any detail about any expected
UNISON is pleased that our
officials in the Scottish Healthcare branch are being consulted
on the arrangements for the setting up of the new service and
trust that the integration of staff being transferred from the
Care Commission will be handled appropriately.
We await information about
the future of the Mental Welfare Commission once further consultation
has taken place.
Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary
14, West Campbell Street,
Glasgow G2 6RX
Fax 0141-331 1203
For further information please
Dave Watson, Scottish Organiser
Diane Anderson, Information