The adult social white paper is a chance to publish a vision for the future that is centred around people who draw on social care to ensure they are supported to live their best life. Our four priorities set out what we would like to see in the upcoming care white paper.
Everyone should be able to live the life they want to lead; to connect to the things that make them feel alive and valued. And when social care is working well, it supports people to achieve this, whatever their circumstances.
That is the future of adult social care we should push for.
Funding and reform are needed to bolster social care’s potential to best support people and communities. Our four priorities reflect the ambition needed to achieve this.
1. Recommit to the principles of the Care Act
The Care Act 2014 is a landmark piece of legislation which continues to command widespread support due to the way in which it was developed through meaningful consultation and engagement, including with people who draw on social care. There has undoubtedly been a gap between the legislation’s ambition and its practical implementation, but it must remain the guiding framework for care and support.
2. Provide immediate investment to both stabilise the system now and lay stronger foundations for the future
Building on the Care Act to make meaningful progress requires immediate investment to address a number of urgent care and support issues:
- better support for the care workforce, including on pay and reward
- stabilising the provider market
- managing demographic pressures
- embedding a much greater emphasis on prevention
- tackling unmet and under-met need.
This will shore up the current system and provide a far stronger foundation for future reforms.
3. Be clear about the costs of the planned reforms and the adequacy of the Health and Social Care Levy to fund them in full
The white paper must provide absolute clarity on the cost of the Government’s reform programme, including charging reforms, both for the three-year Spending Review period and beyond. We are not confident that the £5.4 billion earmarked for social care through the new Health and Social Care Levy is sufficient for the reforms announced and need assurance on how any additional reforms set out in the white paper will be funded. The proportion of the Levy going to social care beyond the three-year period must be set out and guaranteed, so councils can plan for the longer-term and people can be confident they are receiving the support they need to live an equal life.
4. Embed realism and coproduction throughout the process
The reforms that are needed to ensure people of all ages are able to live an equal life require a long-term approach and we hope the white paper will lay the groundwork for a 10-year plan. Subsequent work on the reform agenda must be based on ongoing and meaningful engagement with all partners, particularly people with lived experience of care and support. Realism is needed so that lessons are learnt from the past and plans and public commitments reflect the reality of the immense pressures facing social care. We need to be collectively ambitious and jointly agree what is achievable.