Outsourcing will leave Scotland's National Care Service 'botched before it's created' as union calls for immediate end of practice

A major union has called on the Scottish Government to stop all outsourcing of contracts linked to the National Care Service.

Unite’s Scottish deputy Mary Alexander said the union was “deeply concerned” about the destination of several private contracts linked to the flagship SNP policy.

The National Care Service is due to be fully up and running by 2026, with Nicola Sturgeon pledging the reform to the social care sector would be a “fitting legacy from the trauma of Covid” and the “most significant public service reform” since the establishment of the NHS.

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However, concerns have been raised around the private sector’s involvement with the design of the service after consultancy giants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and KPMG were handed major contracts by the Government.

Unions have expressed anger at the 'outsourcing' of contracts around the National Care Service.

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PwC received almost £200,000 worth of work connected to the National Care Service as the only bidder last year.

Last week, the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) said the decision to give a £546,000 contract linked to the National Care Service to accountancy giant KPMG was “totally unacceptable”.

Scottish Labour have also criticised the Government for “parcelling off” the National Care Service to the private sector.

This led to Unite calling for an immediate cessation of outsourcing of any further contracts, warning the service would be “botched before it is even created”.

Ms Alexander said: “Unite is deeply concerned about recent developments in the planning and design of the new National Care Service.

"Once again, global management consultants are being awarded public contracts as the Scottish Government increasingly outsources the creation of a National Care Service to companies such as KPMG and PWC.

“Let’s be clear that these consultants have one objective, which is to maximise the role of the private sector. It’s our firm belief that the new service must be an accountable and genuine public service with the motive of profit completely removed from its operations.

"We are demanding that the Scottish Government cease the outsourcing of any further contracts or we fear that the new National Care Service will be botched before it is even created.”

The government did not answer the question as to whether it would cease outsourcing around the National Care Service, leaving open the possibility that future contracts would continue to be handed to global consultancy firms such as PwC and KPMG.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The National Care Service will be the most significant change in public services since the establishment of the National Health Service.

"We are committed to delivering a National Care Service by the end of this Parliament in order to ensure everyone gets the high quality care they are entitled to, regardless of where they live in Scotland.

“At its core will be human rights and person-led care and support that focuses on positive outcomes for individuals across Scotland.

“The decision was made to procure specialist services to support the development of the business case and operating models for the NCS, and this will provide a baseline and framework on which we will build the new system.

“KPMG bid for and won this contract following a fair and transparent procurement exercise.”

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