Proposals on the future of adult social care, including a timetable for reform, should be brought forward by the new Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid in the next two weeks, before Parliament rises for the summer.
Ahead of his first major speech to over 1800 delegates at today’s LGA Annual Conference, councils say the new Secretary of State is ideally placed to help find a long-term, sustainable solution for the future of care and support, given his previous roles as both Chancellor and as Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary.
The LGA, which represents councils in England, has reiterated its calls as Parliamentary recess approaches on 22 July which would allow valuable time for MPs, councils and other interested parties to consider new proposals and respond to them ahead of future discussions and an eventual set of final decisions.
COVID-19 has reinforced the urgent need for long-term reform of adult social care so that adults of all ages are best able to live the lives they want to lead. It is vital that reforms provide long term sustainable funding that grows in line with demand for support, as well as investment to tackle the funding gap between the cost of providing care and what councils pay.
The LGA said an ambitious plan for social care and support should help pave the way to a more sustainably and adequately funded system, built around what people want and need from their care so they are in firmly in control of their lives and share power as equals. To achieve this, a future care and support system should work closely with communities and the NHS to invest in prevention, reduce health inequalities and turbo charge innovation in how care is designed and delivered, examples of which have come to the fore during the pandemic.
Cllr David Fothergill, Chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board, said:
“Social care has been on the frontline throughout the pandemic, supporting people of all ages to be safe and well in the most extremely challenging of circumstances.
“Despite the extraordinary commitment and endeavours of all those who work in and draw upon social care, we are still waiting to see what government will produce in its proposals for a long-term, sustainable funding solution and a vision for a care and support system that is fit for the 21st century.
“We also face a huge recruitment and retention crisis in the care workforce, with more than 100,000 vacancies and action urgently needed on pay, conditions, professionalisation, skills and training.
“Any proposals should set out a positive vision for what the future of care and support should be. Social care is not just valuable in its own right, but can play an integral part in building back better from the pandemic in flourishing and connected communities, where people are able to live the lives they want to lead.
“Our new Secretary of State has the unique perspective of previously being in charge of both the Treasury and at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which we believe puts him in an excellent position to finally bring forward these long-awaited proposals before recess and help secure the future of social care for all.”