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How to have your say on social care: the Scottish Government National Care Service consultation explained

Posted September 1st 2021 by Anne

How to share your voice through the National Care Service consultation

Everyone having their say on the future of social care in Scotland

Join the conversation on Social Care and a National Care Service for Scotland

The Scottish Government is consulting on proposals to create a National Care Service as a way to improve the way social care is provided.  This is the chance for everyone in Scotland to have their say.

We know that many people care a lot about this issue.

  • Everyone wants good support today for themselves and people they care about as part of having a good life.
  • They are thinking about the future – what will be there in a few years if they need care then?
  • People care about their communities – good support for everyone and choices about where they live, job opportunities for local people and wealth staying in the community, and social care as part of a sustainable and connected local community.

We’re encouraging people to take part in the consultation and discussions around it.

What is the Social Care ‘National Care Service for Scotland’ consultation? 

In autumn last year the Scottish Government set up a review on social care in Scotland. It was led by Derek Feeley (so it gets called the Feeley review/report). It gathered the experiences and views mostly of people who used social care for themselves or people they care about and of people who provide social care services, including people in direct support jobs.

The current consultation sets out the Government’s responses to the recommendations in the Feeley review report and plans on related matters.

The stages from here are expected to be

  • This public consultation, which is open to everyone
  • The Scottish Government revises and develops the plans, which can take account of points people raise
  • Some parts will need legislation, and this goes to the Scottish Parliament. This stage includes scrutiny by the Health Committee and debate by MSPs.
  • Other parts can happen sooner, such as improvements to the current arrangements.

Background information

The consultation opened on 9th August and closes on 2nd November.  You can see the proposals and how to respond here:

The Scottish Government is running consultation sessions – there are details in that link.

Many networks and organisations are putting together responses from their members or people living in a local area.

Our tips on making a response

These tips come from our experience and community groups’ experiences of responding to other formal consultations.

1. Use this consultation as part of a process, and think about now as well as the future

  • This is a good opportunity to have conversations with other people who are interested in the issue, such as other voluntary organisations and staff in the Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) and Council who are part of local care services.
  • Your MSPs will be involved when it gets to the Scottish Parliament stage. You can keep them informed now, so they know how people feel.
  • Take up issues that could get sorted now, such as when people don’t now what they are entitled to. You can raise these issues through the independent social care advice groups or the HSCP staff. Your MSPs and local Councillors may also be able to help with that.

2. Think about the wider issues as well

  • You can go wider than the topics covered in the consultation.
  • Consultations can be used to raise awareness and get conversations going about the wider issues, such as how our society values older and disabled people, and staff working in these roles.
  • You can look at how local communities contribute to supporting people alongside the formal care services, and what they could do in the future.
  • All these conversations can go on for much longer than this consultation. They will be part of how you and other local people make changes happen and help you contribute to conversations and plans on issues like resilient local communities.

3. Use the conversations and responses that collective organisations and networks are planning

  • Find out if groups or networks that you are part of are planning a collective response.
  • Some HSCPs are planning to hold consultation sessions for people in the local area. This is to make it easier for people to respond and to hear about issues they can pick up on now to improve local services.
  • Check if these are happening. Ask about it if no one seems to be organising anything.
  • Use these routes for the longer-term – to feed into other conversations and as part of taking changes on.

4. Don’t be put off by the consultation document

  • Find one or 2 people who really like reading this sort of thing to read it and do a summary for others in your group or team. Or share out reading it among the group with a few sections each.
  • You can skim the sections that don’t apply to your situation, or where the question is aimed at different people.
  • Remember that lots of people find formal consultation documents long and hard to understand. If you are finding it hard going – take a break, get some more coffee and a chocolate biscuit, or find a pal to help, and ideally all 3.  And you get the opportunity at the end to tell them that it could have been easier.

5. Make your notes in a word file, rather than on the on-line system

  • If you make your notes on an ordinary document, like Word or Pages, it is easier to make changes than if you write directly in the online response form.
  • You can share it round the group and join up sections done by several people.
  • Share the response with members before you send it in, so people have more opportunities to comment and get involved.
  • You can share with other groups and networks you know, so they can use your views as part of their response.
  • Once you are ready, you can copy and paste the sections into the online form, or you can send it directly to the Scottish Government team.
  • You can send your response to people like your MSPs and Councillors, so they know what you think.

6. You don’t have to answer all the questions, and you can add in other points

  • You can skip questions.
  • Use the parts that let people add more comments to raise things that are related to the topics but are wider than or different from the specific question.

7. Tell people about it

  • This is one way people and collective groups are part of democratic processes and share their experience, knowledge and ideas. Tell people you are doing it through social media, newsletters, etc.
  • Use this to remind people why groups and networks where people come together to support each other and make change happen are important.

Good luck!

If you want to start with a more informal conversation, you might find our blogs on Social Care conversations and Having different conversations useful.

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  • Posted by Richard on September 3rd 2021
    Helpful advice for supporting people to have their say - thank you! Please note that the closing date for the consultation has now been extended to 2 November 2021

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