On Thursday 1 March 2012, the Scottish Parliament’s Health and Sport Committee opened a call for written views from all interested parties on the general principles of the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Bill.
The Bill makes legislative provisions relating to the arranging of care and support in order to provide a range of choices to individuals as to how they are to be provided with their support.
The Committee welcomes evidence from individuals as well as from organisations and professional bodies. The Committee intends that evidence received will inform its consideration of the Bill at Stage 1. All responses will be made available to the Committee.
The Committee invites views on all aspects of the Bill. Responses should address all or any of the following points in turn:
Views on the Bill as a whole
1. Are you generally in favour of the Bill and its provisions?
General principles underlying the Bill
Section one of the Bill proposes three principles, which are described as “the general assumptions under which professionals and individuals should operate.” (Policy Memorandum, para 17). The principles encourage “involvement”, “informed choice” and “collaboration”. Local authorities would have a duty to have regard to these principles when carrying out their functions under the Bill.
2. What are your views on the principles proposed?
Options for self-directed support
Sections 3-4, 6-12 and 17 of the Bill contain the core self-directed support provisions. Included are that the local authority must offer an individual four options in how they would like to direct their support – “direct payment”; “direct available resource”; “mix of approaches”; or, “local authority arranged support”. The provisions would relate to adults assessed as requiring community care services, and also children and their families where a local authority decides to provide services under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995. Other provisions include that individuals must be provided with information and advice to help them make that choice, and those who may have difficulties in making informed choices are provided the necessary support to do so.
3. What are your views on the four options for self-directed support proposed in the Bill?
4. Do you have any comment on the proposal that the self-directed support options should be made available to children and their families, together with the proposal that the degree of control a child may have over the process should vary with age?
5. Are you satisfied with the provisions relating to the provision of information and advice, together with those concerning the support that should be offered to those who may have difficulty in making an informed decision?
The Bill seeks to modernise and consolidate current legislation on direct payments, in order to make it more flexible to respond to individuals’ needs. Whilst local authorities would retain a range of duties and powers, the Scottish Government does not wish these to impinge on people’s ability to determine their own support. However, section 13 of the Bill would seek to do this through secondary legislation by granting Ministers powers to introduce regulations, rather than setting this out on the face of the Bill.
6. Are you satisfied that the method for modernising direct payments in the Bill will result in the change that the Government seeks?
Currently, adult carers of other adults or children are entitled to have an assessment of their needs. However, section 2 of the Bill proposes that local authorities should have the power to provide support to a carer on the basis of that assessment. Where a local authority decided to provide such services, section 6 would require it to offer a choice of the four self-directed support options to the adult carer.
7. Do you have any views on the provisions relating to adult carers?
Individuals’ responsibilities and risk enablement
The proposals in the Bill could place a significant amount of responsibility on individuals and their families, particularly in managing risk. The Policy Memorandum (para 26) accompanying the Bill makes particular note of the current ability of people to employ personal assistants through the use of direct payments (option 1 in the Bill). Whilst the Bill does not place any restrictions on the categories of people that may be employed by an individual, the Scottish Government would publish statutory guidance which would cover ensuring individuals are aware of their duties as an employer and the risks in not adopting safe employment practices.
8. Do you agree with the approach taken by the Scottish Government not to place restrictions on who may be employed by an individual through the proposals in the Bill?
The Financial Memorandum accompanying the Bill sees much of the Bill being cost-neutral in the long term. However there is an acceptance there will be transitional costs associated with transforming the culture, systems and approaches to social care provision as a result of the Bill and the Government’s wider strategy.
9. Do you have any views on the assumptions and calculations contained in the Financial Memorandum?
Effects on equal opportunities, human rights, island communities and sustainable development
The Policy Memorandum (para 52-63) accompanying the Bill outlines the assessments made by the Scottish Government on the potential impact, if any on equal opportunities, human rights, island communities and sustainable development.
10. Are you satisfied in the assessments that have taken place in regard to these matters and in the conclusions reached by the Scottish Government?
11. Do you have any comments on any other provisions contained in the Bill that you wish to raise with the Committee?
How to submit your evidence
Before making a submission, please read our Policy on Treatment of Written Evidence by Subject and Mandatory Committees.
Please send your views on the Bill by no later than Tuesday 24 April 2012.
Responses should be sent, wherever possible, electronically and in MS Word format to:
Hard copy responses may be sent to:
Health and Sport Committee, T3.60, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh EH99 1SP
Responses should be no more than four sides of A4 in length.
All written evidence received may be published by the Parliament and will be treated as a public document. If you wish to submit evidence in confidence or anonymously please read the policy at the link above.
What happens next?
Following consideration of the written submissions received, the Committee will agree a programme of oral evidence sessions and may request further written evidence as required.
Should you require alternative formats of this information or further assistance in making a written submission to the Committee, please do not hesitate to contact the clerking team.
For Committee information, contact: Rebecca Lamb, tel 0131 348 5410, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information, the media contact is: Ann Donald, tel 0131 348 5605, email: email@example.com
For public information enquiries, contact: 0131 348 5000
For general enquiries, contact: 0845 278 1999 (local call rate), email: firstname.lastname@example.org