“Significant concerns” on National Care Service Plans – Say Councils
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Speaking ahead of the Stage 1 debate for the National Care Service Bill in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 29th February, Councillor Paul Kelly, COSLA’s Health & Social Care Spokesperson, commented:

“Councils have expressed significant concerns regarding current National Care Service plans and believe there is still work to do to ensure proposals can meet aspirations.

“In particular, Council Leaders are disappointed in the decision of the Scottish Government to continue to push through legislation where a power will be given to Ministers to delegate children and justice services, despite the potential disruption to services and extensive negotiations and concessions from Local Government.

“Council Leaders remain concerned that such a move risks excessive centralisation of decision-making away from local people and areas. Leaders did agree that COSLA should continue to work closely with Scottish Government to address these concerns.

“COSLA welcomes the progress which has been made in reforming some National Care Service proposals, including that local authorities will continue to play a central role in the delivery of, and accountability for care.

“There is a pressing need to improve people’s experiences of accessing and delivering care in Scotland. Although legislative and governance reform may be part of that, the reality is that national funding decisions – including the proposed council tax freeze which has not been fully funded – will further squeeze local care and social work services which are already under incredible pressure. Investment in social care must be seen as a priority which can enhance the wellbeing of people, of society and of Scotland.”


  • The National Care Service Bill was introduced by Scottish Ministers in June 2022. The Bill included provisions which would have enabled the transfer of up to 75,000 local authority staff and legal functions to a National Care Service overseen by Scottish Ministers.
  • On 12th July 2023, COSLA, Scottish Government and NHS reached an initial shared accountability partnership on the National Care Service, which included an agreement that local authorities would retain current social care and social work legal duties and staff.