Health and Social Care

Toyin’s reflections on the NCS Forum

October 21, 2022 by No Comments | Category National Care Service

Toyin Adenugba-Okpaje, a frontline social worker, Ph.D. candidate, social work tutor, SASW vice-chair, and Co-Covener of ME Social Workers in Scotland.

My interest in the National Care Service (NCS) stems from a passion whereby Scotland can have a social care service that I will be happy to use comfortably if my circumstances were to change. As a professional working on the frontline, I have seen the struggles that people go through to get the support that they require. I have seen a simple enough situation become a crisis because of bureaucracy and disorganisation. I want to support the development of a service that meets people’s social care needs when required and that is proactive rather than reactive.

The NCS Forum

The NCS Forum was a great opportunity to learn about other areas of development and practice in social care. For instance, I sat at a table that included someone from an organisation that works with those requiring palliative care, and in my line of work that is a very useful resource to have and to know about. I also learnt a bit more about the Scottish government’s vision and values regarding the proposed NCS.

The NCS Forum was a great opportunity to collaborate with other professionals working in social care. I enjoyed the opportunity to hear directly from people with lived experiences. I enjoyed hearing directly from the three ministers rather than the usual narrative provided by the media. I enjoyed the fact that my impression that we have a government that cares and listens was reinforced on the day. I enjoyed the buzz that was around and knowing that we are at the cusp of something unique happening in Scotland. This was an opportunity to meet people/colleagues face-to-face after about 2.5 years of Covid and working in front of a screen, and I very much enjoyed this.

My hopes for the NCS

I hope the NCS will achieve consistency within social care provision across Scotland. The focus for me is on consistency because regardless of the good work that is being carried out in a local authority across the 32 local authorities in Scotland if there is no consistency in practice, the people who interact with the various arms of social care will continue to experience problems. Therefore, I hope the NCS will promote consistency of practice, consistency of processes, consistency in policy and procedures, and consistency in practice approach.

I hope the creation of the NCS will allow local authorities to work in partnership with an understanding that we are all working for the good of the people of Scotland. The development of the NCS will hopefully also create a wider platform for learning and development within social care.

As such, I hope the NCS will promote and reward competency, skills, experience, outputs, and expertise among the workforce. I hope through the development of the NCS, the benchmark for gaining promotions and positions of leadership will be based on performance rather than the mostly prevailing attitude of how you fit in with the existing leadership team. As the NCS is developed and designed, I hope the practice arena and opportunities for development will be clearly and consistently defined for all professionals. This in my opinion will allow for a clear pathway in the choices made by anyone going into the profession.

I hope the NCS will encourage professionals’ loyalty to a service that works for all. I hope the creation of this well-thought-through, well-designed, and well-funded service will be able to increase job security and retention by working as a supportive employer who appreciates that the workforce is the beating heart of any service.


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