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Integration won’t solve all financial woes, says new ADASS chief

Ray JamesThe future of health and social care has to combine “integration” with a “sustainable financial” settlement for both, the new president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Service has said.

In his inaugural speech at the ADASS spring seminar, Ray James (pictured) said that in order to create a system which “protects, aligns and re-designs” then central government ensure that social care funding is protected and aligned with the NHS. 

He has said that closer health and care integration is central to the solution, “but I’m disappointed when people talk about its being the answer to all the financial challenges. 

“Integration is clearly going to be an important theme, and the NHS England Five Year Forward View is most welcome: it’s great Simon Stevens and his leadership team are openly inviting people from social care to join them in helping to plan and shape and organise things for the future.” 

James, the director of health, housing and adult social care at Enfield Council, added that further steps are needed to help create a new and better system. 

He also wants to see a strengthening in local accountability and innovation by developing local Health and Wellbeing Boards as the “places where partners bring together and lead commissioning, market shaping, resource allocation, and service delivery”. 

With regards to service delivery and the workforce, he said: “Nothing, but nothing determines the quality of a citizen’s experience of social care more than the dignity and respect they are afforded by the social care workers who are allowed to enter their homes and lives. 

“That workforce deserves to be trained, valued and paid in a way consistent with the quality of service we rightly expect of them.” 

He has called for a “crucial debate” to be conducted on issues such as paying a living wage. During his presidency he has said there needs to be a strategic approach to workforce supply to improve recruitment and retention.  

“I have a profound belief in the underpinning principles and values of public service and very much of the view that we must continue to look forward, strive to reform not retrench, and ensure citizens are central to shaping the future of such services,” he concluded. 

James succeeds David Pearson, corporate director of adult social care, health and public protection at Nottinghamshire County Council, who discussed with PSE the need for achieving a better-paid, better-trained social care workforce during his term as president. 

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