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Reimagining Care Commission – Call for National Care Covenant

In a new report published on 24th January 2023, the Archbishops’ Commission on Reimagining Care calls for a National Care Covenant. This would set out the responsibilities of everyone involved in care and support: individuals, families, communities and local and national government.

From the foreword to the report by Archbishop Justin and Archbishop Stephen:

“At the heart of this report is a deeply Christian understanding of what it looks like to live together in community, with people caring for and supporting one another in relationships characterised by mutuality and interdependence.

“The Commission offers a vision of one-another care, where we have a better sense of what we should do for each other in our communities and neighbourhoods, find agreement about different responsibilities lie, and build long-term networks and associations that will allow people to flourish. The development of a National Care Covenant is the beginning of a wider process in which we seek to realise this vision.”

The report – Care and Support Reimagined: a National Care Covenant for England – is now available to download.
The Commission has three “big ideas” to realise a new vision for care and support:

1. Rethinking attitudes to care and support
2. Rebalancing roles and responsibilities
3. Redesigning the social care system.

Welcoming the report, Dr Rhidian Hughes, Chief Executive at the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group, said: “Every day disabled people and their families continue to experience gaps in support, and with rising levels of unmet need, people are left in vulnerable circumstances. The new deal for unpaid carers, alongside a universal entitlement to care and support on par with the NHS, are all urgently required if we are to ensure disabled people’s care and support is not left behind. The work and recommendations of the Archbishops Commission are welcome at such a critical time for social care, in particular the call for a National Care Covenant.”

VODG remains seriously concerned about funding and the workforce pressures being faced by disability services. Dr Hughes goes on to say:

“Current funding and the lack of investment in social care workers pay by central government is depleting the numbers of people and their skills and experience prepared to work in social care. Without concerted action in the Spring Budget to uplift care workers’ pay, the risks to the sustainability of services, and the provision of high quality and safe care will remain real and ever present.”

Chief Executive of Methodist Homes (MHA) said: “I welcome the findings of the Commission, which yet again highlight the need for urgent reform of the adult care sector.

“The Commission recognises that without this reform, we will continue to have a fragmented system. Report after report over decades have highlighted how reform is needed yet, when we thought reform was starting in 2021, the Government halted it with no plans on when it might start again. It is time for the Government to engage with care providers and find out from them exactly what is needed.

“All of us have a part to play in supporting older people and making sure they are put at the heart of decisions affecting them. Great care and support enables older people to live later life well, something we should all aspire towards.

“The idea of a National Care Covenant suggested by the Commission would mean we all work together to make sure no one is left behind in their need for care when it is most needed, whether that is in their own home or a care home.

“The Commissioners visited MHA Moor Allerton in Leeds and saw for themselves how caring for the spiritual needs of people can make a real difference to their lives, highlighting this as an example in their report. We are proud of the work of our chaplaincy team which means we can truly say that at MHA we care for the mind, body and spirit.”