“The Government has been ambitious with its vision and now needs to match this ambition with the necessary funding, to turn it into reality.”
Responding to the publication of the Government’s white paper on adult social care reform, Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“This much-anticipated white paper sets out a positive vision for the future of adult social care and it is right that it has been co-produced with and alongside people who draw on care and support. It is also encouraging to see the Care Act is the foundation upon which these reforms will be built, particularly the emphasis on housing, greater recognition of the workforce and skills, and prevention, action on all of which will improve the quality and experience of people who draw on social care.
“We need to balance the aspirations and expectations set out in this paper against the wider reality of the funding backdrop against which councils and care providers are operating, which is insufficient to meet current and rising demand. While councils share the Government’s ambition and want nothing more than to deliver it, they will need a substantially bigger share of the new Health and Social Care Levy for that to happen.
“Addressing unmet and under-met need, tackling rising pressures, retaining hard working care staff, and investing more in prevention are all areas which need investment now, if we are to significantly bolster core services. This is the essential platform which is needed to fully realise the long-term positive vision set out in this white paper.
“Unless these can be urgently addressed as an immediate priority, any long-term proposals for social care – including those in the white paper backed by funding to kick-start change and innovation – will be set up to fail because core services themselves will not be available or sustainable. Without such investment, public expectations will be unfairly raised.
“Questions also remain about whether the funding allocated for the various major charging reforms, including for the introduction and running of the care cost cap and councils paying providers a ‘fair rate of care’, will be enough. Funding shortfalls impact directly on those who draw on care and support now, as well as those who will do so in future. The Government has been ambitious with its vision and now needs to match this ambition with the necessary funding, to turn it into reality.”
Notes to Editors
The LGA is producing a comprehensive briefing on the adult social care reform white paper, which will be available in the coming days.