Council directors have warned the government it ‘cannot afford another false dawn’ when it comes to the short- and long-term future of adult social care.
A report by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) has outlined three steps for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to take, which cover short-term funding, longer term financing and reform, and a plan for adult social care.
Its document, Sorting out social care for all, once and for all, argues that directors of adult social care services have made £7.7bn worth of savings during the austerity years and that steps were now needed to improve the system.
In the short term, ADASS is calling for the continuation of the Better Care Fund and Improved Better Care Fund. The report said: ‘Dealing with the short-term funding crisis is an essential first step which will help stabilise the adult social care system. It will also enable the government and politicians more widely to create the space to craft a new system which places the adult social care system on a sustainable footing for the future.’
Secondly, the ‘more challenging task’ is the long-term funding and reform of the system. However, the report pointed out after five commissions and independent reviews, and 12 green and white papers over the past two decades, many of the previous recommendations had ‘stood the test of time and are arguably more relevant and needed more now than were when they were first published.’
ADASS said the care market needed to support small- and medium-sized enterprises, and big providers that were dependent on hedge fund owners abroad needed to be more transparent.
Finally, it called for a long-term plan that should mirror and complement The NHS Long Term Plan.
The report comes days before Chancellor Sajid Javid is due outline key spending proposals.
Julie Ogley, ADASS president, said: ‘We need real action from the government – we cannot afford another false dawn. We need to work together to ensure that we have an adult social care system that is fit for the twenty-first century. We need to work together so that people can live good lives.
‘With the spending round, and other recent announcements, the opportunities are there for the government to take action and make a difference. These are the choices.’
Over a million people receive social care funded by the state in England, while more than 350,000 are thought to pay for their own care. As many as 1.4 million older people are not getting the care they need, ADASS said.