Leading industry figures from the field of social care have set out the key reforms needed to reinvent the sector, as they look to improve its funding, efficiency, working conditions and public image.
With social care having come under the spotlight throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, public consciousness of the value of the sector has never been greater. Staff have been working tirelessly, often at great personal risk and sacrifice, to keep people safe from harm. Consequently, more and more are recognising the essential contribution of carers and their ancillary support workers to society.
Despite this, the sector is beleaguered – underfunded, understaffed and undervalued, with recipients of care and their families facing wildly varying fees and often a lack of genuine choice about the nature and provision of care.
In the face of these ongoing challenges, the Board of Directors at the Surrey Care Association, one of the UK’s leading care industry associations, are determined that, rather than sitting back and watching the sector struggle on, they look to solve the puzzle of social care and present a working plan for reform and reinvention that sets the industry up for long-term survival and success.
The basis of this is a 60-page manifesto, which outlines the key steps that the board, with its wealth of experience across the full spectrum of social care, believe need to be taken to overhaul and reinvigorate the sector.
Broken down into 5 central pillars, the core components of the reforms centre on:
1) A fresh start with a new name, and a new ethos
2) A valued workforce
3) New processes, led by people who access services
4) Fair and transparent funding arrangements to secure a bright long-term future
5) Reformed roles and structures
Within these five pillars, the board outline in detail the measures that they believe are necessary to provide a fully functioning service that supports both care recipients and workers, whilst safeguarding the long-term future of the industry.
The initiative has been launched with a virtual roundtable event, chaired by Professor Martin Green, CEO of Care England, which, alongside the directors at the Surrey Care Association, was also attended by the Rt. Hon. Jeremy Hunt MP and Sir Robert Francis QC, Chair of Healthwatch England.
David Holmes, Director and former Chairman of the Surrey Care Association, said: “Social care has long suffered from a public perception that’s at odds with the reality. In recent years, many people have come to view social care negatively. Since the advent of the pandemic though, the public view has shifted notably. For the first time, social care has been championed alongside the NHS.”
He continued: “Now, with public awareness and appreciation probably at a high-water mark, we believe it’s the perfect time to reinvent social care, to overhaul its image and create foundations for long-term success. Our paper, ‘Reinventing Social Care’ sets out how we see this being achieved.”
David concluded: “A huge proportion of society will interact with social care services at some point in their lives – whether as individuals or through family members. At present they will do so with trepidation, concerned about the quality of care and support they will receive and the huge, unmanageable costs they might incur. We want to reinvent the Social Care system with the focus firmly on the individual. Our radical proposals will ensure that all people accessing Social Care are supported to live rich and purposeful lives, and the process through which we do this will be consistent and transparent, giving reassurance and breaking down the trust barrier. Our society will come to cherish the incredible and essential work carried out by those who work in care. The term ‘care’ should be a badge of pride and we’re determined to make it so.”
The executive summary of the manifesto can be found via: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/52rjnmg3o4mjsvr/AADbmM3dET-sbjD_-YFNKHQja?dl=0