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Inspections of struggling councils needed to protect 'fragile social care system', charities urge

The government needs to inspect financially struggling councils to ensure they are meeting their social care duties, an umbrella group for disability charities has urged.

The Voluntary Organisation Disability Group (VODG) has said the Autumn Budget is “the opportunity to shore up the fragile social care system” amid reports of around £700m in cuts to adult social care savings in 2018-19.

In a report published today, the body which represents over 90 non-profit organisations supporting disabled people called for appropriate government inspection to ensure that statutory duties relating to social care are being fully met.

Some local authorities, such as Northamptonshire CC, are seriously financially challenged and the ‘A stitch in time’ report describes the growing threat to the nation’s vital care and support services.

The VODG highlighted government figures, showing that there are 11.5 million disabled people living in England – 21% of the population – with the figure set to rise to 12.2m by 2025.

Cumulative adult social care savings since 2010 have reached £7bn, and because voluntary and not-for-profit providers are publicly funded, they are disproportionately affected by adult social care cuts.

The report asks for a long-term and sustainable funding solution, and also focuses on the stresses put on the NHS by failures in social care, which it says should be a national priority.

It also says that government must build more accessible and adaptable homes at a time when Brexit exacerbates the threat to social care due to instability in the labour market.

The chief executive of VODG, Dr Rhidian Hughes, said: “Social care is a vital public service but is a victim of a triple whammy of squeezed funding, increasing demand and increasing costs.

“This impacts on disabled people and adversely affects other public sector services such as the NHS.”

Hughes continued: “Our ageing and growing population means there’s a growing need for social care for disabled and older people.

“It’s not too late for government to improve the fragile state of the adult social care system and to safeguard existing and future support for people who rely on care services.”

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Image credit - Obencem


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