A National Care Service for Scotland

Closed 2 Nov 2021

Opened 9 Aug 2021

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.


This consultation sets out our proposals to improve the way we deliver social care in Scotland.

The importance of our social care services has never been clearer than during the pandemic. In future, we want to make sure that our social care system will consistently deliver high quality services to everyone that needs them, throughout Scotland. Social care is an investment in our communities and our economy. We want to change the system from one that supports people to survive to one that empowers them to thrive, with human rights at the heart of it.

Social care includes support for people with physical disability, learning disabilities or mental health conditions, older people and those with dementia, people with or recovering from alcohol or drug addictions, those who are, have been or are at risk of being homeless, and children and families who may need additional support, or where children are unable to live with their own families.

The Independent Review of Adult Social Care recommended the creation of a National Care Service, with Scottish Ministers being accountable for adult social care support. However, the Scottish Government’s ambition is to go beyond that. This consultation therefore seeks views on creating a comprehensive community health and social care service that supports people of all ages.

We propose that the National Care Service will define the strategic direction and quality standards for community health and social care in Scotland. It will have local delivery boards which work with the NHS, local authorities, and the third and independent sectors to plan, commission and deliver the support and services that the people of Scotland require.

Our proposals will also take forward recommendations of the Independent Review of Adult Social Care around:

  • ensuring that care is person-centred and human rights based
  • providing greater recognition and support for unpaid carers
  • improving conditions for the workforce
  • commissioning for public good, and
  • more effective approaches to scrutiny and improvement of social care services.

Read the consultation paper.

Alternative formats of this consultation are also available, including Easy ReadBritish Sign Language and Audio . Other accessible formats are available upon request. To request those, please email: NCSconsultation@gov.scot.

If you require a paper copy to be sent to you, please email us or call our automated phone service on 0300 244 2425.

Why your views matter

This consultation focuses on exploring the proposals for significant cultural and system change that will need to be supported by primary legislation.  The Independent Review of Adult Social Care made clear that changes to systems are needed to deliver improvements in the quality of social care and support. 

The priority in considering these proposals must be improving outcomes for the people who access care and support. 

We want to hear views from as many people as possible to shape a better future – including people who access care and support, carers, members of the workforce and those who may access care and support in the future - which includes everyone. We want everyone who may be affected by these changes to have an opportunity to comment on them.

Consultation events

A series of online engagement events are being held in August, September and October to enable stakeholders, individuals and communities to come together to share their views on the National Care Service.

Some of these events will cover all aspects of the consultation, and some will be themed towards specific aspects of the consultation. These consultation events will offer people the opportunity to come together to discuss the National Care Service, and to understand the need for change within social care. A summary report will be produced from each event for the Scottish Government to consider alongside the official consultation responses. 

Find details below for events and registration.

NCS Consultation Engagement Event – All aspects of the Consultation: 26 October 2021 – 09:30 – 11:00 Click here to register

NCS Consultation Engagement Event – All aspects of the Consultation: 2 November 2021 – 10:00 – 11:30 Click here to register

Zoom Engagement Sessions

We are running a number of consultation engagement sessions on Zoom. If you would like to attend one of these sessions, please email NCSconsultation@gov.scot

Role and Remit of NCS: 25 October 2021 – 16:00 – 17:00

All aspects of the Consultation: 01 November – 11:00 – 12:30

All aspects of the Consultation: 02 November – 12:00 – 13:30

What happens next

At the end of the consultation process all of your feedback will be analysed and the conclusions will be used to shape and develop new legislation (a bill) which will be introduced in the Scottish Parliament in summer 2022. 

As we reach conclusions on the National Care Service we will continuously consider how it will integrate with the National Health Service and any implications for the NHS. We will also consider the impact of our proposals on equality groups and others, including businesses and island communities and will carry out a suite of impact assessments before finalising the proposals.

The legislation is likely to be extensive and complex and is likely to take at least a year to be scrutinised by the Parliament. After that we need to set up the organisation and put the legislation into effect. We intend the National Care Service to be fully functioning by the end of the Parliamentary term.



  • Health and Social Care