Public Sector Focus

04.11.16

Are social care pleas falling on deaf ears?

Source: PSE Oct/Nov 16

PSE looks at the major asks of a scathing report published by the King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust, and how they could impact the upcoming Autumn Statement.

There is no more burning injustice in Britain today than older people being denied the care they need to live independently, the King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust said in a scathing report highlighting the sorry state social care has been left in after “six consecutive years of cuts” to council budgets. 

The report, ‘Social care for older people’, launched another warning that if central government is “unwilling to provide adequate public funding to support the current system”, then it must be honest about what the public can expect from these services. Namely, this would include making the “unpalatable future” of self-funded care clearer to users so that individuals and families have a chance to plan ahead. 

Richard Humphries, assistant director of policy at the King’s Fund, attributed this to the “failure of successive governments” to reform the social care sector, meaning that putting this historical care debt right will be a “key test” for the new prime minister. 

A long-term strategy 

But Theresa May’s politics are still one of austerity, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to see how even sophisticated solutions will be capable of tackling the material reality that 26% fewer people are able to get help due to council cuts. 

“The funding outlook for the next five years looks bleak,” the report argued. “The measures announced by the government will not meet a widening gap between needs and resources set to reach at least £2.8bn by 2019. Public spending on adult social care is set to fall to less than 1% of GDP. The potential for most local authorities to achieve more within existing resources is very limited and they will struggle to meet basic statutory duties.” 

Even turning to extra private funding would not suffice, the think tanks said, underlining the need for a robust long-term strategy. “England remains one of the few major advanced countries that has not reformed the way it funds long-term care in response to the needs of an ageing population,” the report added. 

“The Barker Commission, which called for a new settlement for health and social care, is the latest of a number of independent commissions and reviews to set out how this could be achieved. A frank and open debate is needed on how to fund health and social care on a sustainable basis into the future, recognising that a long-term strategy will exceed the lifetime of a single Parliament. A mechanism is needed to secure cross-party consensus on some shared principles of reform.” 

Opportunities in the Autumn Statement 

The LGA said the report confirmed what councils have been saying all along about an urgent need for fresh funding. The chair of its community wellbeing board, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, acknowledged that the government had made some strides towards this with the 2% social care precept and the fattened Better Care Fund, but argued this would not be enough to plug growing funding gaps. 

“The growing demand of an ageing population, as well as the increasing costs following the introduction of the National Living Wage, are squeezing care home and domiciliary care providers to the point of collapse,” she added. 

Both Cllr Seccombe and the report called for the government to recognise the scale of immediate care pressures in the upcoming Autumn Statement, such as by “bringing forward the additional Better Care Fund money, accelerating progress towards establishing a single pooled budget for health and social care in all areas by 2020 and developing a workforce strategy”. 

But are pleas falling on deaf ears? Department of Health (DH) guidance issued earlier this year confirmed that the sector would receive £138m revenue funding from the Better Care Fund in 2016-17, falling far short of the £700m requested by the LGA. 

When reacting to the report, however, a DH spokesperson assured that the government is “committed to ensuring those in old age throughout the country can get affordable and dignified care”. 

“That’s why we have introduced landmark reforms to ensure no-one should have to sell their home to pay for care in their lifetime, and why we’re significantly increasing the amount of money local authorities have access to for social care, by up to £3.5bn by 2020,” the department added. 

“Our Care Act gave new rights to carers and we will be publishing a new carers strategy shortly.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION

The ‘Social care for older people’ report can be accessed at:

W: www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/social-care-older-people 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@publicsectorexecutive.com

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

public sector executive tv

more videos >

latest public sector news

Academies mean councils struggling to take integrated approach to education

23/02/2018Academies mean councils struggling to take integrated approach to education

Councils are struggling to take an integrated approach to education in areas where high numbers of secondary schools are academies, a report by the... more >
Core Cities leaders press for domestic post-Brexit agenda after meeting with Barnier

23/02/2018Core Cities leaders press for domestic post-Brexit agenda after meeting with Barnier

Leaders and mayors representing Core Cities UK have met with the EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier this week. The Brussels meeting saw leaders ... more >
DHSC seeks views on addressing care workforce challenges

23/02/2018DHSC seeks views on addressing care workforce challenges

A consultation focusing on the adult social care workforce has been launched by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), in partnership wit... more >

editor's comment

25/10/2017Take a moment to celebrate

Devolution, restructuring and widespread service reform: from a journalist’s perspective, it’s never been a more exciting time to report on the public sector. That’s why I could not be more thrilled to be taking over the reins at PSE at this key juncture. There could not be a feature that more perfectly encapsulates this... read more >

last word

The importance of openness after Grenfell

The importance of openness after Grenfell

Following the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, Lord Porter, chairman of the LGA, argues that if the public are going to have faith in the safety testing process then everything must be out in the o... more > more last word articles >
149x260 PSE Subscribe button

the raven's daily blog

Whole of government must act together to fulfil the ambition of the Industrial Strategy

11/12/2017Whole of government must act together to fulfil the ambition of the Industrial Strategy

Jen Rae, head of innovation policy at Nesta, says the aims in the government’s new Industrial Strategy are ambitious, but will require a shift in policymaking in order to be realised in full. Last Monday saw the long-awaited launch of the UK’s new Industrial Strategy, the government’s plan for prosperity and growth in a ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the raven' >

comment

An unsettling finance settlement?

23/02/2018An unsettling finance settlement?

Piali Das Gupta, head of policy at Solace, looks over the final local government finance settlement and argues that it does not do enough to supp... more >
Finance settlement: a golden opportunity

23/02/2018Finance settlement: a golden opportunity

The local government finance settlement must enable counties to continue to be the engines of the English economy by providing a fairer funding a... more >
Data protection by design

23/02/2018Data protection by design

Nigel Houlden, head of technology policy at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), looks at how organisations can win back public tru... more >
Citizen-centric cities for a better tomorrow

22/02/2018Citizen-centric cities for a better tomorrow

Mark Collin, group director of Ventures at ThoughtWorks, discusses how governments can learn from a bottom-up, citizen-focused approach to d... more >

interviews

BIM: Digitising the public sector

19/02/2018BIM: Digitising the public sector

PSE’s Josh Mines talks to Stephen Crompton, CTO at GroupBC, and Stuart Bell, the company’s sales and marketing director, about how Bu... more >
Duncan Selbie: The energy of devolution

19/02/2018Duncan Selbie: The energy of devolution

The NHS plays a part in keeping the country well – but when it comes to places and their people, local government has a major role to fulfi... more >
Are we taking a risk on education?

14/12/2017Are we taking a risk on education?

Adrian Prandle, director of economic strategy and negotiations at the National Education Union (NEU), questions the stark lack of announcements a... more >
A fantastic opportunity awaits you

11/12/2017A fantastic opportunity awaits you

Eight months on from the government’s announcement of major training reforms, Anne Milton, minister for apprenticeships and skills at the D... more >