• To ensure national minimum standards, improve consistency, and raise the quality of services across the country.

How it will work

  • Scottish Ministers will be accountable for social care, as they are for health care in Scotland. The National Care Service will work in parallel and in partnership with Scotland’s NHS, but will be independent of the NHS.
  • Integration Joint Boards will be reformed into Community Health and Social Care Boards.
  • It is proposed that the NCS itself will lead on aspects of community health and social care improvement and support that are managed on a once for Scotland basis. It will also deliver community health and social care provision on a national level for complex and highly specialised needs, including the planning and delivery of care in custodial settings.
  • The NCS will also be responsible for national workforce planning and development, data to support planning, commissioning and procurement, research to support improvement, digital enablement, and national and regional service planning.
  • It is not intended that the Scottish Government run all care homes or other services directly, rather, it is expected that the NCS and Community Health and Social Care Boards will continue to commission and procure services from a range of providers, as Integration Joint Boards do currently through Councils and Health Boards.


  • That the duties and responsibilities for social work and adult social care services should be located within the NCS.
  • The ambition for the NCS is to deliver “consistent, person-centered, community health and social care services for all ages”. It is therefore proposed that children and families’ social work and social care services also be located within the NCS.
  • It is also proposed, in line with the Independent Review of Adult Social Care recommendations, that CHSCBs should manage GPs’ contractual arrangements.
  • The consultation also sought views on the integration of alcohol and drug services into the NCS and, separately, whether community justice services should ultimately be included too.


  • The consultation on NCS began in August and ended in November 2021.
  • It is anticipated that a Bill will be drafted in early 2022 following consideration of the consultation responses.
  • The Bill should be read in the Scottish Parliament in Summer 2022.
  • The expected year for full implementation of NCS is 2026.