Social care white paper: reaction

Jeremy Hunt MP

The government’s white paper to reform adult social care outlined policies it intends to implement over the next three years. 

People at the Heart of Care: adult social care reform white paper will include providing greater choice, control and support to help people lead an independent life. This will be supported through funding to transform homes and improve the physical, digital and technological infrastructure in the sector.

Health and social care committee chair Jeremy Hunt MP described the document as a ‘disappointment’.

‘Providing an additional £1.7bn in funding over three years falls far short of the annual £7bn sum that our evidence found would be necessary to fix social care. The white paper states that it provides an “ambitious ten-year vision”, but it doesn’t acknowledge the scale of extra resource needed to realise that vision, based on the crisis the sector faces right now,’ he said.

‘The government deserves credit for grasping the nettle of social care reform, and no-one can argue with the laudable aims of providing choice, quality and fair access. However, these plans represent three steps forward and two steps back.’

Here is further reaction from the sector:

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Professor Martin Green, chief executive, Care England

Professor Martin Green, Care England chief executive

‘This top level visionary white paper sets out the government’s direction of travel for the reform of adult social care. Care England stands ready to help the government deliver this strategy by identifying and dismantling some of the barriers standing in the way of delivering this vision.

‘Delivering this white paper is going to be very difficult because of some of the major challenges facing the care sector, but we are all committed to starting on a journey that will deliver better outcomes for citizens and long-term sustainability for social care providers.’

Vic Rayner

Vic Rayner, National Care Forum chief executive

‘It is a vision that I think many will feel represents the social care that we want for the future. It is clear that there is an appetite for change based on shared principles, and an understanding that investment in social care is critical to facilitating that change.

‘Does it go far enough and fast enough? No.

‘Does it address the current crisis affecting the social care sector – particularly in relation to workforce shortage and how that is impacting on people who need or receive care and support? No.

‘Therefore, for the vision to succeed we need the government to urgently go further. The reform paper says nothing about how we go from the here and now to the future…’

Jane Townson, Homecare Association chief executive

Dr Jane Townson, Homecare Association chief executive

‘We are grateful for the widespread consultation and opportunity to contribute. It is our genuine hope that this vision will become a reality over the next 10 years.

‘These aspirations will, however, remain just aspirations unless the vision, plan for implementation, and investment are aligned.

‘And this is where our concerns lie.

Michael Voges, ARCO executive director – Image:

Michael Voges, ARCO executive director

‘We remain committed to working closely with stakeholders from across both private and social sectors to inform future cross-government action that will help stimulate a specialist housing market that delivers effectively for both consumers and providers across the country.

‘We will continue to work across government to explore options to support and incentivise market growth, including ways to give developers greater clarity, investors more confidence and provide consumers with the necessary protections.’

Oonagh Smyth

Oonagh Smyth, Skills for Care chief executive

‘There is no doubt that the last couple of years people who work in social care have had really rewarding experiences and built great relationships with the people they support but they have also been through some incredibly tough times.

‘This white paper is the start of recognising that people who work in social care are skilled, compassionate professionals and we look forward to working with the government on what future investment will look like, and to support making the ambitions set out in the white paper a reality.’

Karolina Gerlich

Karolina Gerlich, Care Workers’ Charity chief executive

‘For a one-hundred-page document to initially state that the social care workforce is “our biggest asset” and then to have such a disproportionate mention of them within it is unacceptable.

‘The limited goals and lack of substantial information on how changes will be made leaves many questions unanswered. Given all the issues affecting the social care sector, now is the time to be bold and innovative and with a clear and detailed plan of what changes will be made.

‘We appreciate the £500m commitment to the sector. However, to state that this will be used to support a workforce of 1.5 million people in areas of well-being and training is insufficient.

‘If the government hopes to begin to tackle issues in social care there must be a better investment into the workforce. While we are glad that this conversation on reform has begun, we hope that improvements over the next three years will go much further than today’s paper.’

Stephen Chandler, ADASS president

Stephen Chandler, ADASS president

‘By its own admission the white paper is just a starting point and I look forward to continue to work with government to make its ambitions a reality.

‘The white paper sets out strong values and principles and has great ambition. But there is much detail to fill in and much more funding to find. Clearly the sums identified so far can be no more than pump-priming.

‘The white paper paints a promising picture of a more professionalised care workforce in the future. What we urgently need now is a bridge to that brighter future, to address the immediate crisis and ensure that everyone gets the care and support they need this winter.’

Dr Rhidian Hughes, Voluntary Organisations Disability Group chief executive

‘The intention behind today’s publication is admirable but what we need from government is reassurance that further financial investment will be forthcoming to alleviate the immediate pressures being harshly felt today. The reality of underfunding has been increasingly highlighted in recent weeks.

‘It’s clear that funding from central to local government is insufficient to cover the costs of providing high quality care and support and the tragic result is people are losing out on support.

‘The new initiatives that the white paper will introduce, such as digitisation and housing investment, are to be applauded but we are left searching for the immediate and tangible plans for change, with the funding behind it, that disabled people and their families, and the workforce supporting them, can genuinely get behind today.’

John Tonkiss, McCarthy Stone chief executive

John Tonkiss, McCarthy Stone chief executive

‘As we look to build back we believe providing the right type of care and housing is crucial and [the] white paper needs to be the first in a series of important steps taken by the government to address the deep-rooted inadequacies of our health and housing system.

‘We strongly believe that the UK can become one of the best places in the world to live and grow old and we must re-think how we can better serve the needs of older people in society, while also creating living environments which help keep people independent for longer.’

Kathryn Smith, SCIE’s chief executive

Kathryn Smith, Social Care Institute for Excellence chief executive

‘The proposals are consistent with the agenda of valuing people and supporting them to live the best lives they can. Ideas like the Innovative Models of Care Programme offer genuine scope for transforming people’s experience of care in the future.

‘The white Paper’s framework for change responds to the long-term trend towards more care at home and in the community. Particularly for older people, we know from our own survey research that the public prefer to remain living at home or in their communities if they require social care.’