Social enterprise and the new National Care Service

Posted: 01 November 2021, in News

This blog has been published as part of the Future of Social Care series from the Health and Social Care Alliance.

The new proposal for a National Care Service (NCS) is being billed by The Scottish Government as the “biggest public sector reform for decades”. The plan is to make sure that everyone who receives care gets the same standards, regardless of where they are in Scotland. 

The service will seek to deliver person-centred care to suit individuals and will also use “ethical commissioning”, embracing the fair work agenda. It aims to cover adult social care services but consideration will be given to extending this to other groups such as children and young people.

Some reforms have already taken place within the sector, including the integration of health and social care and government funding to support the payment of the real Living Wage.

There are many social enterprises working in health and social care. The latest Social Enterprise Census is due out in the next couple of months, where we’ll be able to see what impact the past 2 years has had on this part of our sector.

According to the last Social Enterprise Census, from 2019, 755 social enterprises worked specifically in health and social care, that’s 13% of all social enterprises and a 21% increase since 2015. At that time health and social care contributed a big 28.4% of income to our social enterprise community. 

Even for those enterprises not directly working within health and social care it’s clear that many others support people with additional needs or work within the broader health and well-being sector. 

Social Enterprise Scotland and the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland previously worked together to produce a brochure called A Healthy Enterprise, that highlighted the innovation of these health enterprises. 

With ageing populations, stretched public sector budgets and increased awareness about the challenges involved, health and social care enterprises are developing new, creative ways of working.

Dr Lorna Paul of social enterprise, Giraffe Healthcare, says:

“For the National Care Service for Scotland to fulfil its aims it is imperative that social enterprises are front and centre in terms of developing the strategy and delivering services. Social enterprises have community and person centred impact at the core of their services, with holistic approaches to improving the lives of people in their community and beyond, including health, social, environmental and societal perspectives. 

“At Giraffe Healthcare we provide health care professionals (physiotherapy, podiatry and occupational therapy) with a platform which allows them to support people with clinical conditions to manage/self manage their condition on a long term basis whether they are in hospital, their own homes or in supported accommodation. We ensure that rehabilitation is available depending on need, not geography, language, ethnicity or other barriers. The platform also bridges the gap between hospital and community care.” 

Lesley Comspton of KLAS Care, highlights some of the current barriers for their organisation:

“As a social enterprise delivering child care we have many hurdles and obstacles, primarily this is due to us not being treated as professionals, despite adhering to all the legislations and professional values from SSSC, the Care Inspectorate and Scottish Government. We are part of Child Services but are overlooked by the local authority due to being a social enterprise and being an out of school care provider. We welcome new legislation, especially one that will enable our user group to have a voice.” 

We’ll continue to work with government and partners as plans for a National Care Service are driven forward, to break down barriers and raise awareness of social enterprise innovation. 

There are certainly many potential opportunities for social enterprises to engage and benefit and we look forward to helping them get their voices heard.

Duncan Thorp, Policy and Public Affairs Manager at Social Enterprise Scotland