Local Authorities and social care, set up to fail

These findings by ADASS, underscore that local Government finances are not where they need to be to deliver a social care system fit for the future.

Care England, the largest and most diverse representative body for independent providers of adult social care in England, has today welcomed the publication of the ADASS Spring Survey but has expressed deep concern at the findings.  
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says:
“These survey results indicate that although the short-term funding boosts from Government have helped reduce the number of people waiting for care and increased support for people at home, this is simply not enough. Local Authorities have been set up to fail by Government. Whilst they have been allocated a £2.3bn share of the Social Care Grant, combined with £562m from the Market Sustainability and Improvement Fund, Local Authorities have been required to deliver £806m in savings to their budgets, provision £692m of additional funding in 2023/24 to demographic pressures and will incur a cost of £1.8bn to deliver the National Living Wage increase in 2023/24. Consequently, Local Authorities are starting from a £400m deficit, before they even look to address staffing, inflation and wider cost pressures. Whilst it is incredibly welcome that 94% of Local Authorities chose to take up adult social care precept for 2023/24, Local Authorities are operating on a shoestring and require significant investment from central Government. Without intervention, we face an uncertain future. The survey highlights the increasing number of providers closing, ceasing trading or handing back council contracts. The warning lights have never been brighter for the Government.” 
The ADASS Spring Survey, published on 21 June, outlines that most English councils are not confident they can offer the minimum social care support in their communities required by law, according to the new research.
To improve social care, boost our economy and enable carers to continue working, social care leaders are calling on the Government to commit to:

  • Invest in support that helps people avoid the need to go to hospital or a care home, and support for people to recover, get back on their feet and back home after hospital during this winter
  • Increase support to carers and improve workforce pay: international recruitment is not a long term fix
  • A fully funded, long-term plan to transform social care to ensure everyone in England can get the care and support they need when they need it.

To read the full report, please visit the ADASS website here: Adass
Martin Green continues:
“The future sustainability of the adult social care sector is tied to the sustainability of local Government. These findings underscore that local Government finances are not where they need to be to deliver a social care system fit for the future. There is a clear agreement that Government funds are making a difference, but far more is required. We need the political will to drive a sustainable market forward. It is promising that many of our messages have been supported by the findings of this survey. Not least, is the need to deliver a sustainable workforce. Earlier this year, we also recommended that the Government develops a pay framework to establish a minimum care wage, above the level of the NLW and tied to NHS band 3. Significantly, as a part of the pay framework, the Government aligns benefits, terms and conditions for care staff with those in the NHS, including pensions, statutory sick pay, holiday entitlements and access to training courses, the cost of which should be reflected in the Fair Cost of Care and funded by the Local Authority. Today’s survey findings indicate that almost all NHS leaders believe that paying the care workforce more would be an effective means of supporting the challenges that are currently facing the social care sector.” 

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