Short-termism ‘hampering’ adult social care

Short-term funding and the lack of a long-term vision for adult social care have hampered local authorities’ ability to innovate and plan for the future, according to a report by the National Audit Office. 

Current accountability and oversight arrangements are also ineffective for overseeing the care market. 

The report highlights that the Department of Health and Social Care has not met previous commitments to tackle recruitment and retention challenges for the 1.5 million people who work in care, and has not produced a workforce strategy since 2009 – despite committing to do so in 2018. 

An LGA spokesperson said continuing uncertainty has made it difficult for councils, which are already facing significant financial pressures, to plan for care and support services in the long term. He called for extra funding to tackle the gap between what providers say is the cost of care and what councils pay.

On oversight of councils’ social care responsibilities, he added: “It is important that we build on existing sector-led improvement work, recognise the role of local democratic accountability, and give a meaningful voice to people who draw on, and work in, social care.”

While the LGA continues to call for a long-term financial settlement for social care, the Government has announced additional emergency funding – including £594 million for hospital discharges, and an extra £341 million for infection control and testing in social care settings.

The LGA said it was good that this essential funding has been extended, as it provides much-needed certainty for health and care services working to support people out of hospital, and enables people to continue to safely visit their friends and relatives in care settings. 

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