Regulation of care services
7.Regulation of care services is patchy at present. Many services are regulated under a range of legislation that is now largely outdated and some services are not regulated at all. The Act is intended to modernise and standardise the regulation of care services. Effective regulation of these services is essential if people using them and their families are to be confident that the services they receive are of high quality and are appropriate to their needs.
8.The Act will reform the regulatory system for care services in Scotland. Care services include care homes for adults, residential care for children, children’s early education, day care and childminding, adoption and fostering services, adult placement services, agencies providing care at home (including care for children), nurse agencies, independent healthcare services, day care services for adults, housing support services, care and welfare in boarding schools and school hostels and care and welfare in accommodation for offenders.
9.The Act provides for an independent Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care to undertake this regulatory function. The Commission will register and inspect all care services against national care standards. These standards will be taken into account when the Commission makes any decisions about registering and inspecting services and in considering whether, and at what level, enforcement action should be taken. For the first time, all local authority care services will be required to register and to meet the same standards as independent sector providers.
10.The current system of care service regulation is principally embodied in the Nursing Homes Registration (Scotland) Act 1938, the Nurses (Scotland) Act 1951, the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968, and the Children Act 1989, together with various regulations, circulars and guidance notes. The new legislation will replace the entire 1938 and 1951 Acts, sections 60-68 of the 1968 Act and Part X and schedule 9 of the 1989 Act, insofar as it applies to Scotland. A number of other minor and consequential changes and repeals will also be made.
11.It is intended that the Commission should fulfil the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Long Term Care that there should be a National Care Commission to take a strategic overview of the care system and its funding and to steward the interests of older people. This role will not be limited to older people. The Commission will therefore have a statutory power to advise Scottish Ministers on trends in care provision generally.