Years of significant underfunding of councils, coupled with rising demand and costs for care and support, have combined to push adult social care services to breaking point.
The Government’s decision in June to further delay its long-awaited Green Paper on the issue prompted the LGA to take action and publish its own green paper and public consultation (see first 627).
We received more than 540 submissions – from the public, service users, councils and dozens of other interested parties.
“What shines through is the passion for supporting and improving people’s wellbeing, and the role social care and other linked services can, and should, play in enabling people to live the lives they want to lead
The responses make it clear beyond doubt: doing nothing is no longer an option.
What shines through is the level of passion for supporting and improving people’s wellbeing, and the role social care and other linked services can, and should, play in enabling people to live the lives they want to.
Find out more
To view the full consultation response and the LGA’s original social care green paper, please visit www.futureofadultsocialcare.co.uk.
Some 20 years of failed or aborted attempts at reforming social care funding by governments of all colours may have frustrated people, but it has quite evidently not dulled their enthusiasm for bringing about change.
This is not to say that the Government’s task is suddenly an easy one. But there are two key lessons that it can take from the work we have done.
First, there is clear consensus on key elements of the debate – especially that the current situation is unsustainable and is failing people on a daily basis, and that adult social care matters in its own right.
Second, there is an equally important element of willingness running through the debate – willingness to engage with the difficult questions and, most crucially, to accept the type of solutions that are needed to secure social care, but which may hitherto have been considered politically unpalatable or inexpedient.
Willingness is a powerful force in this sense and one that the Government must, at the very least, explore further. As the sector and the public begin to coalesce around an understanding that fundamental solutions are needed – such as national tax rises or a comprehensive social insurance solution – they will simply not accept a roadmap for change that dodges the difficult questions, let alone the difficult decisions.
The recommendations we have made to government (see opposite) are aimed at achieving two broad objectives: stabilising and sustaining the current care system now; and moving towards a future system that we know could be better.
‘Better’ is not about doing more of what we are doing now, but moving toward the real purpose and intent of the Care Act 2014. While not perfect, the Act’s principles are fundamentally sound: a genuine focus on people and their wellbeing being at the heart of care and support; a real commitment to prevention and doing everything possible to keeping people fit and well at home; meeting all needs with quality services, delivered by a thriving provider market and skilled and motivated workforce; and effective partnership working – not just with the NHS, but with housing, and the voluntary and community sector, for instance.
This is about being better, not aspiring to be better, and we know councils can deliver.
There is no interest in government simply rearticulating the social care problem; we – and countless others – have done that. Now is the time for answers.
The current Government and its ministers have a unique opportunity to start this process, but politicians on all sides are just
as responsible for bringing about the change we need.
The LGA works on such a basis of cross-party cooperation. Now, our national politicians must do the same.