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INTRODUCTION OF FINAL DATES TO ACHIEVE REGISTRATION WITH THE SCOTTISH SOCIAL SERVICES COUNCIL (SSSC)

UNISON Scotland’s response to the Scottish Government’s Consultation on the Introduction of Final Dates to achieve Registration with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC)

December 2008

Executive Summary

* Over the years, UNISONScotland has supported moves by the Scottish Government to regulate the social service workforce.

* UNISON has always recognised that a timescale would be set for final dates for registration and welcomes the way in which the proposals have been compiled. In particular we support a grace period being given for workers to register.

* Changing Lives emphasised the need for training and development to enable all social service workers to fulfil their potential and to provide the best service possible to service users.  UNISON wishes to take this opportunity to ensure that employers are reminded of their obligations and responsibilities to provide training and development for their workers.

* We welcome the commitment for the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) to contact all workers and employers to advise them when their employees’ completed applications should be received to allow sufficient time for them to be processed.  However, the SSSC’s timetable must be realistic and achievable, so that our members are not disadvantaged through any delays by the SSSC. 

* In addition, we believe that some employers are unclear on the process for verifying overseas qualifications and would welcome a clearly defined process on how these should be dealt with so that any unnecessary delays can be avoided.

Introduction

UNISON is Scotland’s largest public sector trade union representing over 160,000 members.   UNISON Scotland represents tens of thousands of members who work in the social care services, including many social workers, social service workers, those managing and working in children’s services, day care and residential care.  These members work in children’s and family services, support and administrative staff, those involved with the justice service, home care staff, etc.

UNISON Scotland welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Scottish Government’s Consultation.

UNISON has always recognised that a timescale would be set for final dates for registration and welcomes the way in which the proposals have been compiled.

Response

Over the years, UNISONScotland has supported moves by the Scottish Government to regulate the social service workforce, and has welcomed its proposals “to strengthen and support the professionalism of the workforce, raise service standards and practice and protect the users of social services.”

UNISON and its members have worked throughout this time to support the introduction of the registration process and to ensure that adequate training and support is given to workers to enable them to achieve the professional standards necessary for inclusion in the relevant part of the register.  Changing Lives emphasised the need for training and development to enable all social service workers to fulfil their potential and to provide the best service possible to service users.  We are concerned that this has not happened in all workplaces and wish to take this opportunity to ensure that employers are reminded of their obligations and responsibilities in this matter.

We welcome the commitment in the proposals for the SSSC to contact all workers and employers to advise them when their employees’ completed applications should be received by the SSSC to allow sufficient time for the applications to be processed.  However, we would ask the Government to ensure that the SSSC’s timetable is a realistic one and one which is achievable, so that our members are not disadvantaged through any delays by the SSSC.  In addition, whilst larger employers, such as local authorities, will have been able to introduce adequate procedures for ensuring their employees are ready for registration, smaller employers, such as some of those in the voluntary sector may not be in the same position. We, therefore, believe that particular attention should be given to these organisations to ensure they have adequate time and funding to fulfil their obligations under these regulations.

We welcome the prescribed descriptions of the various categories of social service workers, which clarify the relevant part of the register that each category of worker should belong to.

We note the specific regulations for people who are currently employed, being employed for the first time or are included in the relevant social services register of other countries within the United Kingdom.  However, we would take this opportunity to raise the situation of the relevant qualifications of those who have gained their qualifications in a different country.  We believe that some employers are unclear on the process for verifying overseas qualifications and would welcome a clearly defined process on how these should be dealt with so that any unnecessary delays can be avoided.  This process should be widely publicised to all employers by the SSSC 

Consultation Question

Question 1
We agree with the grace period being given for newly qualified social workers and for those who are registered as social workers in one of the other countries of the United Kingdom.

Question 2
We agree with the grace period being given for social service workers.

Question 3
We are happy with the grace period being set at a specific length of time, provided, as outlined above, the timetable is able to be met by the SSSC, as we would not want our members being disadvantaged in any way by hold ups not of their own making.

Question 4
UNISON is happy with the registration dates set for the various groups of social service workers, based on the dates that the register has been open for the various groups.



For further information please contact:


Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary
UNISON Scotland
UNISON House
14, West Campbell Street,
Glasgow   G2 6RX

Tel 0845 355 0845 Fax 0141-331 1203
e-mail  matt.smith@unison.co.uk
d.watson@unison.co.uk
diane.anderson@unison.co.uk





 

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