Scottish Labour has called for answers after it emerged more than £700,000 has been paid to outsource parts of the development of the national care service.
The flagship policy would bring adult social care under the control of a new body which, according to a consultation launched into the initiative, could also have other functions including the control of children’s and addictions services.
But some of the major parts of developing the system have been farmed out to major consultancy firms.
PwC has received £168,360 for analysing the consultation responses and designing the operating model.
KPMG was this month given a £546,000 contract to develop a business case for the service.
Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman, Jackie Baillie, has demanded answers as to why this work could not be done by civil servants already employed by the Scottish Government.
“We need a national care service run in the best interests of service users and workers – but so far it is only big companies that have benefited from the SNP’s actions,” she said.
“Serious questions need to be asked about the SNP Government’s lack of vision and why there is not the expertise within the public sector, in health and social care, or with the army of civil servants in Edinburgh to undertake the work given to these companies.
“A national care service worthy of the name must have the interests of care users, social care workers, and families at its heart.
“It’s time for the SNP Government to come clean on why the people of Scotland are footing the bill for these contracts and commit to putting the service users and workers at the centre of the national care service.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said the national care service “will be the most significant change in public services since the establishment of the National Health Service”.
“We are committed to delivering a National Care Service by the end of this parliament in order to ensure everyone gets the high quality care they are entitled to, regardless of where they live in Scotland,” the spokesman said.
“The decision was made to procure specialist services to support the development of the business case and operating models for the NCS, and this will provide a baseline and framework on which we will build the new system.
“The firms providing those specialist services were appointed through fair and transparent procurement processes.”