Concerns over ability to provide care worse than ever, survey finds

Julie Ogley, president, ADASS

Concern amongst directors of adults social services in England about their ability to provide the care and support they are required to by law is at its highest level ever. 

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) asked 98 directors of adult social care on their views on topics, including budgetary issues, meeting statutory duties, the ability of local care markets to cope with pressures and delayed discharges.

Figures from an autumn survey showed that 94% of directors either had ‘no’ or only ‘partial confidence’ they will be able to deliver their statutory responsibilities for care market sustainability by the end of 2020/21.

More than 8 in 10 (82%) of directors had ‘no’ or ‘partial confidence’ that they can deliver their statutory responsibilities regarding Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards and Liberty Protection Safeguards, with 76% feeling the same about delivering their statutory duty in relation to prevention and wellbeing.

The survey also found 93% of directors either had ‘some concerns’ or ‘insufficient capacity’ to manage the failure of a large provider. While nearly all (90%) of directors stated that they had either ‘some concerns’ or ‘insufficient capacity’ to manage winter-related pressures over the coming months.

Meanwhile, directors are most confident they will be able to deliver statutory duties relating to safeguarding by the end of 2020/21, with more than half (59.7%) stating they have ‘full confidence’. This is followed by information and advice (49%) and assessment for carers and people using services (45.4%).

‘Back in July, our budget survey showed that we are desperately lacking the sustainable long-term funding needed to provide vital services that will allow us all to live the dignified lives we want to lead,’ said Julie Ogley, president of ADASS. ‘We are relentlessly positive about what social care can achieve. But it’s clear from today’s findings that the situation is worse than in July.’

‘We cannot keep relying on emergency, one-off short-term funding and we cannot afford more vague promises or partial solutions,’ Ogley continued, ‘Those of us who are not getting care and support, those who are not getting enough care, those who are giving up work to care for family members and those who are getting ill and ending up in hospital for want of care at home deserve the social care we know is possible and essential.’

Ogley said the next government must make a choice and prioritise adult social care and provide certainty about funding, longer-term reform and a long-term plan that puts ‘fairness at the heart of everything.’