Fiona Duncan-One question and one question only: a question without a simple answer

Governments are statutorily obliged to undertake consultations. And so they should. Listening, understanding and amending proposed policies and plans is of critical importance to a society that values the rights and wellbeing of its population.  

But collected responses to consultations don’t always throw up simple, single answers.  

And so, it has been with the Scottish Government consultation on the proposed National Care Service, particularly whether children and families social work should be included within its remit.  

From the perspective of children and families, the only question that should be asked and answered is whether inclusion of services to support them in a National Care Service will work to #keepthepromise. Therefore, The Promise Scotland commissioned independent analysis into the consultation responses the Scottish Government received and published.  

Of the 1095 responses published, 521 offered a view on the question 'Should the National Care Service include both adults and children’s social work and social care services?'  This was 373 individuals and 147 organisational responses. 

Of those organisations that specifically referenced the promise in their consultation, there was no clear majority for or against including children’s services in the National Care Service, but rather a need for further consideration that would require more information to properly understand the potential outcomes for children and young people. So, although at first glance it may be accurate to say that 78% of organisations who answered, answered ‘yes’ to the question, the devil is in the details.  

What is clear is that those who are committed to #KeepThePromise are not of a firm view - rather they want to see a robust evidence base to inform any decision, to make sure that proposed structural change does not inhibit progress, to fully understand any rationale.  

Crucially, responses were predicated on the need for any change to actually result in better integration and a more holistic approach to children and families lives, as opposed to the creation of structures. 

Reducing the answers in the consultation to a simple yes or no misses the important details in considered responses, ignores the complexity of the question and overlooks the nuances of people’s daily lives.   

Across Scotland, people are grappling with a question posed by The Scottish Government. 

Whatever Government decides, answering it wasn’t easy.  

Read the Interim Analysis here....

National Care Service and the promise: Interim Analysis