The Scottish government has announced a bonfire of regulators which will lead to single inspectorates for social care and health.
Under the plans, a single body will inspect social work services, including councils – currently the responsibility of the Social Work Inspection Agency – and regulate care providers, which is currently under the Care Commission.
The single social care regulator will also take over the work of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education in relation to child protection.
In addition, the government announced the creation of a new health inspectorate. This will take on the functions of NHS Quality Improvement Scotland, the Mental Welfare Commission, which scrutinises the treatment of detained mental health patients, and the Care Commission’s role in regulating independent health providers.
The changes, which will require primary legislation, are due to come into force by 2011.
Scottish finance minister John Swinney said the reforms were designed to “tackle the complex, and occasionally arbitrary, structures where too much time is absorbed in crossing organisational boundaries, getting in the way of efficient and effective services”.
The Care Commission welcomed the changes.
Convener Frank Clark said: “We are fully committed to making this new arrangement work in the best interests of the many children and adults who receive the help of social work and social care. A simplified structure for the scrutiny of all aspects of social work and social care is to be welcomed. “
Among other proposed changes, the Scottish government will scrap the Scottish Charity Appeals Panel, which handles appeals against third sector regulator the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. It will hold a consultation on where its functions should lie.
England and Wales
The creation of a single social care inspectorate mirrors the establishment of the Commission for Social Care Inspection in 2004, through the merger of former council scrutineer the Social Services Inspectorate and care regulator the National Care Standards Commission.
However, in 2007, CSCI’s children’s functions were transferred to Ofsted, while next year it will merge into the new health and social care regulator, the Care Quality Commission.
In Wales, a single social care inspectorate was created in 2007 with the establishment of the Care and Social Services Inspectorate Wales.
Expert guide to inspection and regulation