Media Statement: Concerns over North Ayrshire Homecare Support

Scottish Care Media Release

For immediate release

Scottish Care voices concern over North Ayrshire homecare support

Scottish Care is the representative body of care at home providers who are charitable, not for profit, private and employee owned. Our members deliver most of the care and support for adults and older adults right across Scotland. As an organisation we very rarely make public comment on local actions, but we find ourselves unable to remain silent about what is happening in North Ayrshire at the present time.

In a recent statement North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership (NAHSCP) has stated that they have decided to take all homecare support ‘in house’ and to end the contracts of existing non-Council providers from June 2024.

Scottish Care is concerned that actions of the NAHSCP endangers the care and support of those who are at the moment receiving services in the North Ayrshire area and which in the future will limit the legal rights and choices of residents in the area.

Scottish Care has several major concerns:

  • The NAHSCP has stated that their decision to bring all homecare services in house is for reasons of quality and that they have ‘invested’ in this decision. The NAHSCP has not published the costs of in-house services although precedent suggests they will cost more than double the cost of outsourced care and support it is possible therefore that in a time of austerity and service cuts that this decision will result in fewer people in North Ayrshire receiving the care and support they deserve and require, in an effort to balance books.
  • Whilst the NAHSCP has sought to reassure individuals that they will have the right to remain with existing providers and staff, we have no confidence of the independence of information and support being given to people. Will citizens have real choice and an independent support to allow them to make the decision which is right for them rather than what suits the NAHSCP?
  • Every person who requires social care and support, anywhere in Scotland, has the right to choose a provider (whether the Council or not) to provide that care. Scottish Care is concerned that in the future residents of North Ayrshire will be denied this legal right. We need assurance from the NAHSCP that they will continue to make available the services of other providers and that they will give independent information about their availability, and that they will comply with their legal duties in terms of the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013 (SDS Act).
  • The SDS Act places a requirement upon a local authority or HSCPs ‘to promote a variety of providers of support and a variety of support’ (sections 19 of the Act). This means that people have a range of providers to choose from. Scottish Care does not believe that anyone (whether a public, private or charitable provider) should have an effective monopoly in any area. The right to informed choice which the SDS Act enshrines requires there to be real choice. How can that be the case if the Council delivers all services? We would like North Ayrshire HSCP to communicate with ourselves and more importantly to the citizens of North Ayrshire as to how they will fulfil their legal requirements and how they intend to ‘promote a variety of providers.?
  • Scottish Care also highlights the report on the National Care Service (NCS)(Scotland) Bill (Stage 1), in relation to ethical commissioning. Recommendation 86 emphasises a “personalisation agenda as established within self-directed support legislation, ensuring choice and control for individuals to ensure the best possible outcomes”. This is achieved through a “plurality of provider to ensure that local care meets the needs and preferences of individuals”. Given this, Scottish Care seeks clarification surrounding the NAHSCP’s decision to conflict with the recommendations of the Scottish Parliament’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee, and the subsequent legislative direction of Scotland in regard to ethical commissioning.
  • Lastly, the NAHSCP believes that most of the workers employed by existing providers will want to transfer to their employment. We already know many will not because they simply do not want to work for the Council. This will mean an even greater shortage of workers at such a critical time. Scottish Care would like to know if the NAHSCP has undertaken an equality and human rights risk assessment on their decision especially as it affects the rights of this predominantly female and older workforce. Sadly, we do not believe the rights of frontline workers have been respected.

In conclusion every citizen in Scotland who requires social care and support deserves to be treated in a manner that respects their individual dignity and the right to have control and choice over their lives. The SDS Act came about after years of campaigning by disability and older people groups who were tired of a situation where there was a take it or leave it approach, where people had no choice or control over the social care and support they receive. Scottish Care is very concerned that these hard fought for human rights are effectively being denied by the actions of the North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership. By their actions NAHSCP have taken a step back in time rather than a step forward. Local residents and users of services both now and in the future, urgently need the NAHSCP to answer some fundamental questions.


Last Updated on 7th March 2024 by Shanice