Joan McAlpine MSP

Welcome to Joan McAlpine MSP's biography pages

Parliamentary Activities

Search for other Speeches made by Joan McAlpine

Meeting of the Parliament 22 January 2015 : Thursday, January 22, 2015
Joan McAlpine (South Scotland) (SNP)

Thank you, Presiding Officer. I welcome the chance to contribute to the debate. As the cabinet secretary outlined, the foundation of the Scottish Government’s 2020 vision is that by that date, just five years hence, everyone who is able to will live longer and—more important—healthier lives at home or in a homely setting.

The challenges that we face—an ageing population, higher expectations, rising medical costs as new treatments come online, and long-term health conditions that can be successfully managed—have arisen in large part because our NHS is a fantastic asset of which we should be proud. The fact that we are all living longer is no bad thing. Members across the chamber have spoken before about the contribution that older people make to their communities in terms of social capital.

We know that there are, despite that, challenges ahead. It is right that the then Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Alex Neil, last October announced a refresh of the ambitious 2020 vision policy to meet the changing needs of the Scottish people. I note that the briefing today from the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland welcomed that as an important development that offers an opportunity to further engage with people who use the support services and to include the third sector in designing the future priorities for health and social care.

I want to focus on the third sector, today. We know that integration is not simply about streamlining or simplifying the system for its own sake, or even for the sake of those who deliver care. It is not necessarily about saving money, either. What it can do is improve outcomes for the person who is at the centre of care, so the vision is about how to make those outcomes as possible as they can be for those people.

We are not alone in that aspiration. For some time now, person-centred integration has been the goal of many countries across the world, especially those that value good-quality public services. It is a global challenge. In 2011, the Scottish Parliament information centre reported on international comparisons of health and social care provision and found that over the past 40 years across Europe, and further afield, there has been a trend towards encouraging health and social care agencies to work together to improve care. The report uses case studies from the United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy, Canada and New Zealand that highlight barriers to and enablers of success. It is interesting that the report found that some of the greatest barriers to successful integration are to be found where competition and market-oriented systems prevail. That is why it is welcome that everyone in this Parliament has signed up to a public system.

Most important is that the report found that the most valuable enabler of successful health and social care integration, in policy terms, is effective engagement of the third sector, which will come as no surprise to many of us in the chamber. The third sector has consistently demonstrated an ability to pioneer preventative approaches that can ease the burden on traditional NHS services and help people to stay independent and healthy for longer.

I was very pleased to hear at this week’s meeting of the cross-party group on volunteers and the voluntary sector a presentation from John MacDonald of the Community Transport Association on community transport’s increasingly important role in getting people to health appointments, in helping them home from hospital and in keeping them socially active and well. We will all have examples of that in our constituencies. I have the privilege of seeing how it works in South Scotland with the Annandale Transport Initiative and a similar voluntary sector project called Food Train, which delivers shopping and offers befriending, library and even repair services to older people all over Scotland.

It is a mark of this Government’s commitment that the 2015-16 budget will give an additional £173 million for integration, including an integrated care fund of £100 million, to improve outcomes and build on the progress that was made by the reshaping care for older people change fund, which provided £300 million from 2011-12 to 2014-15. That change fund was a powerful lever in supporting the third sector, the NHS, local authorities and the housing and independent sectors to work more effectively together and to share ownership of local change plans and delivery.

Today’s debate presents us with an opportunity to show further our appreciation of the third sector’s role as people who use support services in designing future health and social care priorities, and it will be interesting to see how the third sector will be involved in the new boards. That will be important if we are to achieve the transformational care that we are all looking for.

15:26  

Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 14 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Joan McAlpine (South Scotland) (SNP)

Thank you very much, convener.

Returning to the issue of intervention that Mr Johnstone and others raised earlier, I think it important to point out that, whether or not they initiate them, interventions are paid for by the housing associations and, as a result, it is the tenants who pick up the bill.

You will be aware of the stories in the press about your interventions with Loreburn Housing Association in Dumfries and Galloway. As a South Scotland MSP, I have done quite a lot of work on this in the past. I have been approached by former members of the board who were extremely concerned about the interventions. Your interventions with Loreburn started in 2011. At that time, Loreburn had a satisfaction rating among its tenants of 97 per cent, which was one of the highest ratings in the country. Lisa Peebles talked about benchmarking earlier; within Loreburn, against the peer group average, 99 per cent of emergency repairs were met on time, for example, so it was a very well-performing housing association. It did not have any financial problems and there were no complaints from tenants.

Your interventions started as a result of the board taking legal advice to remove three of its members. Your interventions have gone on for the past four years and have cost Loreburn Housing Association more than £400 million in consultant and legal fees.



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 14 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Joan McAlpine

The estimated of the cost of the regulator’s interventions is £400 million. That includes the cost of consultants who were—contrary to what Mr Cameron said earlier—imposed on the housing association. The first consultant, Anderson Business Development Ltd, was imposed on the housing association. The association did not have a choice; the contract was not put out to tender. The consultants charged £900 to £1,000 a day and the housing association had no control over them. One of the consultants was based part-time in Singapore; the other consultant was based in Exeter. Do you think that your actions in regard to Loreburn were proportionate and that tenants have been given value for money in your interventions in Loreburn?



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 14 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Joan McAlpine

How can a consultant who is based in Singapore manage a housing association in Dumfries and Galloway?



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 14 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Joan McAlpine

As you will be aware, a number of people were so unhappy about your actions at Loreburn that they left the board. Obviously, we cannot go into issues to do with individuals, but you will be aware that there have been staff changes as well. You talked about a “crisis” and serious failings. If it was a serious issue and there was a crisis, why did you not invoke your statutory powers?



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 14 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Joan McAlpine

Do you ever threaten RSLs with your statutory intervention powers in order to get them to co-operate with you?

12:15  

Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 14 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Joan McAlpine

Going back to the issue of crisis and the serious nature of a situation meriting a huge amount of tenants’ money being spent, your regulation plans say that the engagement level with Loreburn Housing Association was categorised as only “medium”, not “high”. That does not suggest a crisis, does it?



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 14 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Joan McAlpine

You said in the press that you acted decisively, and you have said that you have resolved the issue. Can it really be said that you acted decisively when it has taken four years and £400,000 to sort what you perceived to be the problem?



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 14 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Joan McAlpine

What has been the outcome for tenants?



Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee 14 January 2015 : Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Joan McAlpine

Colleagues mentioned consistency earlier. You will be aware of the article in the Sunday Herald on what I can only call your lack of intervention with the Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership, which is in the same area as the Loreburn Housing Association. As was outlined in the Sunday Herald, the Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership entered into a contract with a failing company, which subsequently collapsed, and awarded it £38 million to build houses. Many of the houses were left incomplete, many tenants were extremely dissatisfied with the quality of the work in their houses and a huge amount of public money was wasted.

Despite the fact that you got complaints from tenants, which you did not get in the case of the Loreburn Housing Association, it took you two years to start an investigation into DGHP. You did not engage with tenants and you allowed DGHP to conduct a self-examination. There seems to be inconsistency in respect of how you dealt with a smaller housing association that had unspecified governance issues that did not affect how the tenants lived. If I compare how you dealt with a huge waste of public money with how you dealt with a situation in which tenants complained that they were not getting a good service, you seem to have had a very hands-off approach to DGHP.

Witnesses have suggested to the committee that some housing associations are so big that they are perhaps protected from the levels of intervention that associations such as the Loreburn Housing Association have experienced from the regulator. Why has Loreburn had to pay £400,000 for consultants, when you took a hands-off approach to a big housing association that wasted huge amounts of public money?

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-12120.1 Jenny Marra: 2020 Vision, the Strategic Forward Direction of the NHS—As an amendment to
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12101 John Swinney: Budget (Scotland) (No.4) Bill—That the Parliament agrees to the general prin
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12095.4 Ken Macintosh: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12095.2 Alex Johnstone: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12095.1 Willie Rennie: Tackling Inequalities—As an amendment to motion S4M-12095 in the name of
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12095 Alex Neil: Tackling Inequalities—That the Parliament agrees that a strong, sustainable eco
>> Show more
YesCarried

Selection of John Pentland MSP for appointment to the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body.
Not VotedCarried

S4M-12060.2 Hugh Henry: Commending the People who Keep Scotland Safe in Emergencies—As an amendment
>> Show more
NoDefeated

S4M-12045.3 Shona Robison: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-12045 in the name of Rich
>> Show more
YesCarried

S4M-12045.2 Jackson Carlaw: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-12045 in the name of Ric
>> Show more
NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Joan McAlpine
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-12066: Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 14/01/2015 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-11150: Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 08/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08987: Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/02/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09405: Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09341: Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 13/03/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08990: Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/02/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08709: Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08705: Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/01/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08592: Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-08577: Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, On Behalf of Burrell Collection (Lending and Borrowing) (Scotland) Bill Committee, Date Lodged: 11/12/2013 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Joan McAlpine
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4O-03885: Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4F-02513: Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/01/2015 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-23695: Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 16/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03842: Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03796: Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/12/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03757: Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03670: Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/11/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03657: Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03603: Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 20/10/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-22755: Joan McAlpine, South Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 06/10/2014 Show Full Question >>

Further information

Email our Public Information Service for more information.