The issue of relatively low pay in the social care sector is highlighted regularly and the settlement in the Spending Round provides resources to begin to address this challenge. In the long term the low pay needs to be addressed as part of the arrangements for the future funding of both adult and children’s social care.
- Adult social care and support is a vital service in its own right. It helps people of all ages to live the life they want to lead. It binds our communities, helps sustain the NHS and provides essential economic value to our country.
- Social care helps people maintain their own health, wellbeing and independence and reduces the need for NHS services, in particular primary and secondary care. This is evidenced by councils’ work with partners to reduce the number of delayed transfer of care days attributable to social care.
- From 2010 to 2018/19, councils were able to protect social care relative to other services, however from this year data suggests the ASC budget could fall slightly as a proportion of the overall council budgets. They have found efficiencies and innovated to deliver public services in the most cost-effective way but as adult social care is a significant proportion of a council’s budget, sizable savings and reductions still had to be found. Extra funding is needed, however, simply to keep on providing existing support at current levels.
- Unless significant new money is invested into the system, it will not be possible to meet demographic, inflationary and National Living Wage pressures, and stabilise the provider market. Neither will the care sector be able to tackle under met and unmet need and fully realise all the aims of the Care Act.
- We are pleased that in the recent Spending Round, the Government has responded to our calls and provided desperately needed new money, including £1 billion for social care (children’s and adults), as well as confirming the continuation of existing grants.
- The issue of relatively low pay in the social care sector is highlighted regularly and the settlement in the Spending Round provides resources to begin to address this challenge. In the long term the low pay needs to be addressed as part of the arrangements for the future funding of both adult and children’s social care.
- With people living longer and demand growing, pressures will continue to rise as people live with more multiple and/or complex needs. The underfunding of adult social care and support sector is impacting on the quality of life of people who have care and support needs. It is also creating a fragile provider market, putting workforce and unpaid family carers under further strain, and impacting on social care’s ability to help mitigate demand pressures on the NHS.
- The Government should use the Queen’s Speech to publish its proposals for the future of adult social care as soon as possible to spark a truly nationwide public debate about the value of social care and how, as a nation, we will pay for it in the years ahead.
Download the full briefing
Social care funding, House of Commons, Tuesday 1 October 2019