MPs launch Inquiry into Adult Social Care

A group of MPs today launch an inquiry examining the future of care provision. The All Party Local Government group will be hearing evidence from experts from the social care sector and from local authorities in Parliament over the next 3 weeks.

Supported by the LGiU and Partnership the Inquiry will hear evidence from a number of organisations including local authorities, the Department for Health and the Kings Fund and will publish recommendations in the summer to inform the forthcoming Government White Paper on social care.

The full list of witnesses includes:

Stephen Dorrell MP, Chair, Health Select Committee

Richard Humphries, Senior Fellow, The Kings Fund

Shaun Gallagher, Director of Policy, Department for Health

Alan Long, Executive Director, Mears

Maria da Silva, Chief Operating Officer, Whittington Health

Mark Rogers, Chief Executive, Circle Housing     

Anne Higgins, Corporate Director of Communities and Wellbeing, Trafford Council  

Cllr Gareth Barnard, Bracknell Forest, LGA spokesman   

Cllr Colin Stears, Executive Member for Adult Social Services and Health, LB Sutton

Dr Adi Cooper, Strategic Director for Adult Social Services, LB Sutton       

Caroline Abrahams, Director of External Affairs, Age UK

Sarah Pickup, ADASS

Chris Horlick, Managing Director, Care, Partnership

Cllr Ann Naylor, Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Community Wellbeing, Trafford Council        

The issues

Local government urgently needs a long-term answer to adult social care for two core reasons.  First, because it has critical responsibility for delivering social care outputs for communities.  Local authorities are responsible for 40 per cent of all social care funding for older people.  Second, because local government is the arm of government that inevitably picks up the pieces when social care provision fails.

Given the massive scale of the demographic challenge that the adult social care system faces, with the number of 100 year-old people projected to rise from 10,000 today to 1 million by 2071, a sustainable future for social care for older people will rely on local government working in partnership with communities.  Local government has already embarked on the personalisation of care but to embed more fundamental reform we face three key challenges outlined below.

1. Enabling citizens to lead independent lives

Research conducted by the LGiU has demonstrated that local authorities clearly recognise the value of intervening early, working with partners in health to build holistic support for older people and supporting individuals to remain in their own homes.  However, maintaining support for this investment is challenging given the intense, short- and medium-term pressure on council budgets.  Councils will need to demonstrate the impact of interventions that help people to live independently as they grow older to justify this investment.  

2. Enabling citizens to be financially independent

In the absence of a wholly state-funded care system, which is unlikely, the funding of long-term care will be shared by individuals and the state.  Local government will need to build on existing good practice in ensuring that the resources of self-funders, who make up an increasing proportion of recipients of care, are supported to make the most effective use of their resources.  Local government will also need to help encourage individuals to make earlier, and more cost-effective, investments in services aimed at supporting independent living and modifications that could help older people remain in their own homes in the longer term

3. Acting as a market shaper

In many authorities, there has been a general move from direct provision to commissioning of services on behalf of local residents.  As self-funders become an increasingly significant proportion of recipients of care, local councils will need to play an emerging new role as a market-shaper if they are to have a positive influence on the quality of care received by a significant proportion of local residents.  Increasingly, people will look to local authorities as a trusted provider of independent, expert guidance in an increasingly complex care market-place.  

The inquiry

To look at how we meet these challenges, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Local Government, supported by the LGiU, is undertaking a major inquiry into the future provision and funding of adult social care.  We want to capture current best practice, chart a road map from where we are now to where we need to be and establish the principles that should inform the  adult social care system of the future.

This call for evidence, followed by formal evidence sessions at the House of Commons, will feed into a final report that we hope will be the most significant cross-party contribution to the debate about the role of local government in delivering care in the next decade.  Our intention is both to inform the development of the  government’s White Paper and provide the first comprehensive sector response to it.

The APPG Inquiry Panel

Members of the APPG Panel are listed below

Heather Wheeler MP (Chair)
Oliver Colvile MP
George Hollingbery MP
Ann Marie Morris MP
Sarah Newton MP
Eric Ollerenshaw OBE,  MP
Mark Pawsey MP
Heidi Alexander MP
Dave Anderson MP
Roberta Blackman-Woods MP
Graham Jones MP
Barbara Keeley MP
Lord Graham Tope

Stay up to date

Further information about the APPG Inquiry can be found on the LGiU website. You can also receive updates about the Inquiry via email by subscribing here.

To discuss this work further please contact Rob Dale on 020 7554 2800 / 07825 746 388 or email rob.dale@lgiu.org.uk