The National Care Forum, the leading representative body for the not-for-profit adult social care sector, has sent an open letter to David Pearson, Chair of the new Social Care Sector Covid-19 Support Taskforce calling for urgent action on the key strands of work to address the impact of COVID-19 on those receiving social care.
Vic Rayner, Executive Director of the National Care Forum says:
“One of the first issues the taskforce must tackle as an absolute priority is funding for social care to cope with the enormous costs being experienced by social care providers as a result of the COVID pandemic.
“The Government has passed £3.2bn to Local Authorities (LAs) to support the COVID response, the experience of our members is that this money is still not reliably and consistently reaching the frontline of care.
“ADASS published their budget survey on 18 June, with some hard hitting messages we support about the fragility of the social care sector and the very serious implications for those who need and use care and support services. Despite this, their survey states that LAs had, at the point of response, committed only £518m to providers, and had only actually paid out £194m to social care providers – a mere 6% of the total £3.2bn handed over by the Government. This is not sustainable.
“We are fully aware that LAs face significant additional financial pressures including lost revenue and additional COVID responsibilities around shielding and homelessness to name a few, many of which emerged after the initial central government allocation. However, the government explicitly identified social care as a key priority for this funding.
“The Infection Control Fund represented another key opportunity to get funding direct to the front line of care homes, but yet again the sector faces layers of bureaucracy via centralised constraining grant conditions and the inevitable spectre of variable interpretations and applications of the fund by 151 different local authorities – all the time taking away from the essential task of caring.
“It is vital that the Taskforce looks urgently at obtaining this funding, and ensuring a responsive crisis appropriate system for distributing funds to make sure that providers of all types of services can have confidence that what they hear said at the Downing Street podium becomes swiftly a reality.
“This is absolutely not a blame game. We recognise the very significant financial pressures that LAs are facing, and we need urgently to find a solution that doesn’t put authorities in a position of having to make extraordinarily difficult choices, which ultimately limit the distribution of the financial support that the Government intended to reach the frontline of care, and ensure that services continue to be provided to our most vulnerable citizens.”