National Care Service consultation

Housing and homelessness – joint response to National Care Service consultation

Proposals for a National Care Service in Scotland could signal an opportunity to join up services and responses for some of society’s most excluded groups, according to a joint consultation response submitted to the Scottish Government today (Monday 1 November) by organisations representing the housing and homelessness sectors. 

The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), Everyone Home Collective and members of the lived and frontline experience panel, All In For Change, submitted a joint response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on plans for a new National Care Service, which closes on Tuesday this week. 

The joint response is captured in seven key points reflecting on the Scottish Government’s proposals in the context of housing and homelessness, including helping to prevent drug related deaths, stating: ‘More than half of deaths among people who are homeless are drugs related… the National Care Service presents an opportunity to prevent early mortality by joining up responses.’ 

In the past few weeks the organisations have consulted over 200 members and interested parties, asking whether the proposals could contribute to preventing homelessness and what the potential risks, dilemmas, or unintended consequences might be to existing plans and structures while working to ensure everyone in Scotland has a safe home. 

Feedback from networking and events, combined with detailed analysis of the proposals, has resulted in the seven strands framing the joint response: People led, Home centred, Preventative, Rights based, De-stigmatising, Fairer and Improving. 

The response also states that the future National Care Service should also be at the heart of identifying homelessness risk, putting in place care and support to prevent homelessness and aligned closely with Scotland’s developing approach to prevention, including new legal duties on public bodies. 

Viki Fox, Change Lead with All In For Change, said:  

“The Change Team has cautious optimism about the National Care Service. It has the potential to be really powerful if the design and implementation are properly thought-out and inclusive of those with lived and frontline experience of homelessness.” 

Maggie Brünjes, Chief Executive of Homeless Network Scotland, said: 

“The Scottish Government’s proposal for a National Care Service signals a significant shift in the provision of support and care and an opportunity to consolidate the links between housing, health and social care. People with overlapping experiences that include homelessness can be the most disconnected from mainstream and public services and with the most to gain from an improved, integrated and ‘no wrong door’ approach to care and support. Changing the record for this group needs a shift of this size; our consultation found more opportunities than dilemmas and especially for the group described in the Hard Edges Scotland research.”

Aaron Hill, Director of Policy and Membership at SFHA, said:

“The National Care Service Consultation presents a great opportunity to improve people’s experience of care and support. Many of our members offer housing, care and support services, often directly employing care staff to assist their tenants, Housing associations therefore have a great deal of direct experience to contribute to the development of this new service, and we want to see social housing recognised as a key partner in this new service.”

Read the joint response to the National Care Service consultation.

Individuals and organisations can submit a response by Tuesday 2 November 2021 and further information, alongside guidance and instructions for responding, is available on the Scottish Government Consultation portal here