PROPOSALS for a National Care Service (NCS) in Scotland could be in jeopardy after a Holyrood committee recommended that the reform should not progress through parliament.

The Scottish Government is attempting to bring adult social care, and potentially other areas of the care system such as children’s and drug and alcohol services, under one national body similar to the NHS.

However, the National Care Service (Scotland) Bill has faced criticism from opposition parties and trade unions due to what they say is a lack of clarity concerning what the bill would deliver.

The bill currently relies on a “co-design” process, which would create the NCS only once the legislation has passed through parliament.

The Scottish Government has said the process will see engagement with stakeholders used to devise the detailed functions of the service, with plans laid before Parliament as secondary legislation.

However, this means that MSPs can only accept or reject the proposals from ministers rather than being able to propose amendments to the bill themselves.

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A report from the Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee (DPLR) published on Friday said: “The committee does not believe the bill should progress in its current form.

“This follows our consideration of the evidence received and of the bill and bill documents as introduced.

“The committee is concerned there is insufficient detail on the face of the bill and within the bill documents to allow for meaningful parliamentary scrutiny.

“Given the far-reaching nature of the proposed reforms, the committee is mindful there is a real risk of letting down those the bill is intended to help by allowing Scottish Government ministers to use delegated powers instead of primary legislation to introduce core and as yet unknown provisions.

“The committee believes the current approach significantly reduces the threshold for parliamentary approval and prevents MSPs from bringing forward detailed amendments.

“The committee believes this is unacceptable and risks setting a dangerous precedent, undermining the role of the Parliament.”

It added that the committee “strongly refutes the suggestion that full parliamentary scrutiny presents a barrier to collaborative working”.

All opposition MSPs in the DPLR Committee backed the report.

However, the SNP MSPs on the committee, Bill Kidd and Jenni Minto, said in a minority statement attached to the report: “We note that the concept of co-design is a new approach and the reasons that the Scottish Government has set out to justify its use in this instance.

“We are content with the general approach taken in respect of this bill and are therefore content with the delegation of the powers in principle.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “We welcome the scrutiny of each committee, as the Parliament has an important role in strengthening the legislation that we bring forward. We note that the conclusions reported by the DPLR committee were not a unanimous view of its members.

“We’ve heard repeatedly from people with direct experience that the system needs to change to address standards and consistency across Scotland.

“The NCS Bill will enable the changes we want to make and gives Scottish Ministers powers to work through the detail with people who access support and those who provide it, including unpaid carers.”

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Scottish Conservative MSP Jeremy Balfour said: “I hope this is the moment when the penny finally drops for Nicola Sturgeon and she ditches this reckless and unaffordable crusade to centralise the delivery of social care.

“Ours is just the latest parliamentary committee to pinpoint flaws in the bill, while seemingly every stakeholder – from care home owners and trade unions, to Cosla and charities – is opposed to it.”

Labour social care spokesman Paul O’Kane said the report was “damning”, and “lays bare the fatal flaws” in the Bill.

““The Government said that the fate of this Bill was for Parliament to judge. With this now the third committee to caution against the Bill, it is clear that Parliament has spoken – the Bill must be paused.

“Experts are clear, workers are clear and care users are clear – this bill will do nothing to help protect and enhance care in Scotland.”