Home Responses Adult Social Care system is in desperate need of a sustained multi-year funding settlement

Adult Social Care system is in desperate need of a sustained multi-year funding settlement

by Kirsty Kirsty

The cross-party Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee have published a report on the long-term funding of adult social care. Unsurprisingly to those working in the sector, it has revealed that the adult social care system is in desperate need of a sustained multi-year funding settlement. Also stating that planned reforms must be carefully mapped out with real consideration for those using and working within the system.

The incumbent Conservative party has been commended for ‘attempting to prevent unpredictable and catastrophic care costs’ – but this new report also plainly details that the Government should be under no illusion that social care has been fixed once and for all. A worrying £7 billion of extra funding each year is estimated to be required to secure the safety of the adult social care system – the message clear that, without this, the sector will not be able to cope.

Statement – Kari Gerstheimer, CEO of Access Social Care:

Much like the report itself observes, Access Social Care urges that recommendations made regarding the adult social care sector must be designed to benefit the real people behind Westminster figures, namely ‘those who need care, their loved ones, and care workers’. Some of the distressing figures outlined today by the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee show little concern for those at the front line of our social care system and a disregard for the very real issues faced by local authorities.

Those in the sector are all too aware of reporting that the adult social care sector does not have enough short, medium, or long-term funding, and how this results in individuals going without the care necessary to live safe and fulfilled lives. Whilst I recognise the efforts made to attempt reforms, I am in full agreement with the committee statement that: ‘the Government currently has nothing more than a vision, with no roadmap, no timetable, no milestones, and no measures of success’. The sector is in desperate need of more information as to both how reforms will be financed, and in light of a leadership battle fuelled on pledging tax cuts, where this extra £7 billion of vital funding will come from. 

Access Social Care is especially concerned about research commissioned by the County Council Network – which estimates that reforms lead to an additional 200,000 social care assessments, requiring 4,300 and 700 more social workers and financial assessors respectively.My concerns are not lessened by the Government suggestion to explore care home, mixed team, and self-assessments. Particularly given the existent quality issues surrounding current care assessments. 

Real and calculated steps need to be taken to ensure that everyone has access to a fair cost of care. Those of us working in the care sector have repeatedly called on the Government to outline how the revenue from the Health and Social Care levy will be divided to fund charging and sector reforms. Also stressing that money is needed to address the short-term ‘structural challenges of rising demand, unmet need, and difficulties recruiting and retaining staff’. These concerns are only exacerbated by the cost of living crisis and soaring inflation – the consequence being that millions of people are going without the care they so desperately need.This report is clear in its indication that unrealistic demands are being put on local authorities, and there needs to be a rebalance of resources so as they are less reliant on raising revenue through council tax. It also highlights that the NHS and adult social care should not be pit against one another – ‘the two systems are interdependent and each needs to be adequately funded to reduce pressure on the other’. Wherever the money comes from it is paramount that the Government produces a plan to allocate more funding to adult social care, to the tune of several billions of pounds per year.

Image depicts Kari Gerstheimer, CEO of Access Social Care

Related Articles