THOUSANDS are fearing for the future of their jobs due to "centralisation" plans for the new National Care Service.

Council chiefs and trade unions have raised the concerns as they join forces to to call on the Scottish Government to reverse centralisation plans which they say would remove up to 75,000 staff from local authorities.

The Scottish Government's draft National Care Service legislation, currently before Parliament, would allow ministers to transfer social care from local authorities to local care boards under the NCS.

It is feared that means a large proportion of local authority staff, functions and assets would be transferred to a national structure overseen by Scottish Government ministers.

The local government employers organisation Cosla says the plans have left council staff, not only in social work and social care, "uncertain over their future employer, their terms and conditions and their pay".

They say the uncertainties "risk years of disruption rather than contributing to service improvements".

Cosla have joined forces with public services union Unison and Unite in sharing concerns that the legislation would have a serious impact on the future of local democracy and the viability of local Government in Scotland.

They say the legislation empowers Scottish ministers to "create and direct unaccountable local care boards" to deliver services.

HeraldScotland: // (Image: /)

They want plans to be redrawn ensuring "local democratic accountability" and that the needs of local communities are at the heart of them.

Tracey Dalling, Unison Scotland regional secretary said: “The National Care Service plans leave tens of thousands of staff, not just in local government but across many public services, uncertain about the future of their jobs and their pensions. What is certain though, is that if the Scottish Government passes its legislation councils will be hugely reduced, both as democratic institutions and as employers. The outsourcing of jobs to the national care service, will be followed by jobs going in areas like IT, finance, facilities management and others.”

It is thought the new NCS may cost up to £1.3 billion to deliver over the next five years although the figure could "change considerably", a Holyrood analysis of the SNP's flagship policy has said.

Health secretary Humza Yousaf introduced the National Care Service (Scotland) Bill into Holyrood on 20 June this year with the purpose to improve the quality and consistency of social services in Scotland, better integrate these services into health care and end a "postcode lottery" in the care sector.

The service is being created following an independent review last year which recommended strengthening national accountability for the sector after it was heavily criticised for failures during the coronavirus pandemic.

Paul Kelly, Cosla health and social care spokesman said: “Instead of investing to improve care services now, the Scottish Government are choosing to prioritise unnecessary expensive structural reform which will disrupt services, staff and our communities who rely on support. Local Government staff across social care, social work and community health have gone above and beyond to support local people over the past few years and are now faced with the added uncertainty that comes with these Scottish Government proposals. COSLA will continue to work with our trade union partners to support our staff across local authorities and stand committed to making improvements to services now.”

Wendy Dunsmore, Unite industrial officer added: "There remains next to no detail on major elements of the National Care Service proposals including how local and special care bodies will work independently, and with each other, and crucially what this in reality means for the workforce."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are creating a National Care Service to end the postcode lottery in the provision of care in Scotland. We have heard repeatedly from people with direct experience that the current adult social care system must change to drive up standards to a consistent level across the country.

“A key focus of the proposals is that services will be delivered locally, with national oversight – and our commitment to Fair Work means this national accountability will improve standards and support the drive for enhanced pay and conditions for workers across the social work and social care landscape.

“By rewarding and valuing the workforce to deliver the best possible service for the people of Scotland, we will make the sector fit for the future and more attractive to people coming into the profession.”