Views are being sought from the third sector in Scotland on the future of social care, following the launch of a discussion paper outlining financial concerns.

A key focus for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is the sustainability of the third sector in Scotland. Social care amounts to over a quarter of the sector’s turnover, and 34% of voluntary organisations in Scotland are involved in social care-related activities.

Sustainable social care is therefore crucial to the sustainability of the third sector as a whole, as well as being absolutely pivotal for the health and wellbeing of individuals in Scotland. The debate surrounding social care is fundamentally about ensuring a sustainable future for social care which guarantees choice, control and high quality social for the people of Scotland.

SCVO recently commissioned Jo Armstrong – an independent business economist and honorary professor at Glasgow University Business School – to conduct a financial analysis of third sector organisations operating in and around social care. 

The findings show that adult social care spending has seen its share of the total social work budget fall. Meanwhile, the number of those aged 75+ is set to grow by more than 40%, with the 85+ cohort to increase by almost 60%.

Just under three-quarters of the smallest Scottish-based charities have had to dip into their cash reserves to cover operating losses in at least one of the last three years – a figure that mirrors SCVO findings in ‘State of the Sector’ research which found that 76% of third sector organisations expect the financial situation to worsen next year.

To accompany this financial analysis, SCVO has produced a short discussion paper outlining some of the key policy and operational issues within the social care space, covering everything from fair work, to unpaid carers and the continued imbalance between health and social care.

Shulah Allan, Convenor of SCVO, said: “This isn’t just an issue for the third sector organisations directly involved in providing and delivering social care, we all have a stake in the social care system. We don’t expect simple or single solutions to emerge, however our ambition is to promote a wide and engaging debate, informed by the knowledge that the current status quo is neither sustainable nor desirable.”

Third sector organisations can view the financial analysis here and view SCVO’s discussion paper here. Those who wish to feedback thoughts, views and opinions on the topics raised can contact or .