Rather unexpectedly I was invited to spend a few days in Scotland last month during a period heralded by the media for temperatures that soared all week above the temperatures registered in the Mediterranean Costas del Sol. This visit was to the Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care at the University of Strathclyde, the consortia of tertiary education and advocacy bodies established by the Scottish Executive to operate alongside the new system of care service and early education regulation being introduced through the Scottish Parliament.
The first objective for the new system of care and early education regulation is that it should focus on the children and young people using the services, with the system of regulation and the standards used based on the quality of life the services enable people to experience.
The second objective is that the regulating body
should be independent, having no interest in providing services itself.
The third objective is that both users and providers of care services throughout Scotland should know that the same quality standards are applied across the country, regardless of who is providing the service.
Finally, the new system of care and early education regulation is to be integrated, with the expectation that individual care recipients can remain in the same place with the type and intensity of care changing as their needs change.
Scottish Burger Kings
Unlike the position in other human services in Scotland such as teaching, nursing and medicine, there is no comprehensive workforce regulation for the personal social services. Employers are not required (with some exceptions) to employ staff with particular qualifications.
There is also no monitoring and tracking of people in the workforce who are plainly unsuitable for the jobs they are doing, for example through offending behaviour, incompetence or abuse of service users. Such people may be removed from post by their employer but later be re-employed elsewhere in the social services workforce.
While some employers have developed codes of conduct to which their staff must conform and some professional bodies have developed codes of ethics, these are not widely accepted across Scotland and do not apply to the whole workforce.
A new Scottish Social Services Council will be established to regulate the social services workforce and ensure that policy objectives are met. For more details, check out The Way Forward for Care: A Policy Position Paper listed on the Scottish Executive website at www.scotland.gov.uk.
Saying Good-bye at Edinburgh Airport
The tragic foot and mouth quarantines were continuing during my stay in the UK, with 30 new confirmed cases in Yorkshire. The British Parliamentary election campaign was in full crescendo, building towards the June 7th election. Racial violence in Oldham also captured world attention. Yes, there is plenty to keep world attention focused on the United Kingdom and what is happening in child and youth care there.
I wish the new Professor of Residential Child Care, Andy Kendrick, and all those involved with the Scottish Institute for Residential Child Care every success in their combined efforts to support Scottish children and young people in care.