Care Now and for the Future: an inquiry into adult social care
This is the final report of an inquiry carried out by the cross-party All Party Parliamentary Local Government Group. The inquiry looked at the future of adult social care and the report makes four key recommendations on what can be done between now and 2015 to reform the care system and meet current funding challenges.
Recommendation 1: Local government and the NHS must integrate services and budgets to change the focus of social care services and spending towards prevention.
There is already substantial progress towards this goal but a step change is needed. To help drive this change the report will recommend that Community Budgets, which are currently being piloted by the government, are implemented across all local authority areas with a focus on health prevention.
Recommendation 2: The Group heard how Health and Wellbeing Boards are already making an impact and have great potential.
To realise this, the Boards need powers to influence the NHS Commissioning Board’s plans, and the right to challenge those plans if they are not sufficiently in keeping with the joint health and wellbeing strategy. The NHS Commissioning Board should have a duty to cooperate with the Health and Wellbeing Board in the exercise of its functions and specifically in relation to the promotion of integration and collaborative working.
The Group will recommend that the NHS and local authorities be required to make an Annual Statement that accounts for all NHS and adult social care expenditure so that members of Health and Wellbeing Boards can scrutinise and challenge the choices made. This information should also be made publicly available.
Recommendation 3: Evidence gathered in the Inquiry suggests that the funding gap is around 4.4% per year, equivalent to £634 million.
To close this gap, the Group will recommend that the government divert additional resources from NHS budgets to preventative care. In the current year £622 million of NHS money has been invested in social care. We recommend that this is doubled in 2012/13 and 2014/15 to the end of the CSR period, using funds from NHS underspends (currently £1.5bn) ahead of savings accruing.
Recommendation 4: The role of local authorities needs to evolve to help people lead independent lives, remain financially independent and to shape social care markets.
Local authorities across the country should as a matter of urgency emulate the best practice featured in this report to help people stay independent for longer; to manage and stimulate a market of care provision; and to ensure that all citizens, not just those funded by the council, receive timely and appropriate advice about their care options and about how to manage their finances effectively to meet the costs of their care.
Authors: Jonathan Carr-West, Laurie Thraves, Janet Sillett, Andy Sawford
Date Published: 16 July 2012