John McKenzie, convener of social care services committee at Glasgow City Council, is concerned that while the current legal framework north of the border provides specific protection for certain groups, more general safeguards are still needed to cover the wider client group.
'Following the Borders social work inquiry earlier this year the subsequent reportmade it clear that this type of legislation was long overdue in Scotland. The Executive has already consulted widely and I know the minister, who has been very supportive of legislation, is considering the responses.'
Glasgow Social Work Services purchases around 4,000 care home places across the city and many of the clients have neither mental health issues nor incapacity. In addition, the council and the NHS jointly provide services for approximately 3000 adults with a learning disability. Most of these people are vulnerable to some degree but are not covered at present by umbrella legislation of the type introduced in England and Wales.
Mr McKenzie added: 'Local authorities are at the sharp end of care. Our staff provide the day-to-day services that help to sustain a reasonable quality of life for millions of people in the UK with specialist needs. The Executive was right to consult, and it is proper to consider the responses carefully. However, I urge the Executive to afford this matter the urgency it deserves so that we can enhance protection of vulnerable adults in Scotland as soon as possible.'
* Details of the POVA legislation here.