Care council dominated by Labour Party activists

An investigation into the selection of the General Social Care
Council board members has been demanded after more than a third of
appointees were revealed to be Labour Party activists.

Five of the 14 members of the GSCC, which will be responsible
for the registration and regulation of all social care sector
staff, have declared political activity on behalf of the Labour
Party within the last five years. None of the members are active
members of the Conservative or Liberal Democrat Parties.

In addition, the only representative of independent care
providers, Bill McClimont, is not politically active but works with
the wife of a Labour minister. McClimont is chairperson of the the
UK Home Care Association, whose president is Lucianne Sawyer, wife
of environment minister Michael Meacher. Sawyer has been appointed
to the National Care Standards Commission but does not declare
herself to be a Labour Party activist.

Conservative health and social services spokesman Philip Hammond
has asked the Commissioner for Public Appointments Dame Rennie
Fritchie for an investigation into the appointments.

“I am very surprised by the composition of members on the GSCC,”
said Hammond. “It is important for the GSCC to be seen as
independent of the government and that it will take the path that
is right for the social care sector and not the needs of the

National Care Homes Association chief executive Sheila Scott and
chairperson Nadra Ahmed had their applications rejected after
declaring their political activity with the Conservative Party.

Scott said: “Having sat on the advisory committee for the
setting up of the GSCC, I was disappointed not to have even reached
the interview stage.”

Four of her fellow members of the advisory committee have been
appointed to the council, including two Labour Party activists and

A Department of Health spokesperson said there were about 250
applications and that all appointments had been made in accordance
with the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ guidelines.
“Political activity was not taken into account at any stage of the
selection process,” they added.

Labour activists on the council are Malcolm Clark, Ann James,
Judith Weleminsky, Arthur Keefe and June Thoburn and Labour peer
Baroness Pitkeathley has been appointed as the interim chairperson
(See News, page 6, 26 July).

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