The National Care Forum (NCF) – the leading association for not-for-profit social care and support organisations responds to the publication of the ADASS Spring Survey 2023.
Professor Vic Rayner, CEO of the NCF said:
“Once again, ADASS’ Spring Survey has highlighted the urgent need for a dedicated, and fully funded workforce plan for adult social care with improved pay, terms and conditions aligned. This year’s report firmly undermines the government’s claim to be investing enough money in adult social care and paints a worrying picture of high levels of unmet need, increasing acuity of that need and the closure and scaling back of services, as well as the handing back of contracts.
“Waiting lists for care are still in the hundreds of thousands, despite a slight decrease, with an increasing number of people waiting longer than 6 months, while their situation deteriorates. In the face of this, councils are increasingly drawing upon their reserves to fund adult social care. This is not sustainable and there is a distinct lack of confidence from Directors of Social Services that they will be able to maintain current levels of services, never mind expand them. And yet, in all this, there is still untapped potential and hope, as outlined in the report.
“Adult social care “is an opportunity, not a problem”. It employs over 1.5 million people in England and contributes £51.5bn to the economy in England. Proper investment in adult social care, as a key part of the nation’s infrastructure, would unlock jobs, growth and tackle health and socio-economic inequalities across the country. It would be one of the single-most powerful policy decisions a government could make to better the lives of people everywhere.”
NCF welcomes the recommendations of the ADASS report, but we would like to add a few of our own. We are calling on the government to:
- Develop a long-term workforce plan for adult social care which models future workforce requirements and seeks to diversify the types of roles available, as well as developing career structures and qualifications. This should be aligned with NHS workforce planning to enable a joined-up workforce and to enhance the quality of care provided by both the NHS and social care.
- Instigate a review involving employers, commissioners, and employee representatives with a view to implementing a new career-based pay and reward structure for social care which will be: (a) comparable with the NHS and equivalent sectors; (b) fully-funded by Central Government; and (c) mandatory on employers and commissioners of services.
- Introduce a requirement for all government policymaking to include ‘Care and Support Impact Assessments’ to widen policymaking beyond a narrow health focus, to unlock the potential of social care to improving wider determinants of health and wellbeing, as well as economic prosperity and societal cohesion.
- Introduce professional registration for all adult social care workers and establish a professional body to represent them. This must be fully funded by the state.
- Encouraging commissioners to prioritise not-for-profit care ahead of for-profit models of care.
- Set up a capital investment fund to enable not-for-profit providers to develop and create new services and buildings, with a focus on new models of care, environmental sustainability and the introduction of new technologies.
- Establish and fund a national framework for the price of registered and unregistered care which ensures good quality, sustainable care wherever you live and removes the catastrophic costs providers, individuals and families are being expected to pay to subsidise the state
- Develop a National Care Covenant, as outlined in the Archbishops’ Commission into Reimaging Care Report, which is co-produced and sets out clearly the mutual rights and responsibilities of the different parties. This would make clear the role of citizens, families, communities and the state in providing support and paying for it.