Seven principles that should underpin social care and support reform in light of COVID-19.
COVID-19 has brought into sharp relief the challenges facing adult social care, many of which existed long before the pandemic. But it has also powerfully underlined the essential value of social care in helping people to live the lives they want to lead. The public, political and media spotlight that now shines on social care provides an important opportunity; a moment to grasp as we collectively seek to shape the future of care and support.
We believe the future reform of social care and support should be guided, and underpinned, by seven key principles.Taken together, these principles and their accompanying asks of Government chart a way forward for ensuring the very best local care and support in the future, so that people can live their very best life.
Cllr James Jamieson, Chairman, Local Government Association
Kate Lee, Chief Executive, Alzheimer’s Society
James Bullion, President, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Jeanelle de Gruchy, President, Association of Directors of Public Health
Dr Ruth Allen, Chief Executive, British Association of Social Workers
Naomi Phillips, Director of Policy and Advocacy, British Red Cross
Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care, Care Quality Commission
Kathryn Hill, Director of England, Carers Trust
Helen Walker, Chief Executive, Carers UK
Anna Dixon, Chief Executive, Centre for Ageing Better
Rob Whiteman CBE, Chief Executive, CIPFA
Anna Severwright, Co-Chair, Coalition for Collaborative Care
Steve Scown, Chief Executive, Dimensions
Jim Boyd, Chief Executive, Equity Release Council
Imelda Redmond CBE, National Director, Healthwatch England
Deborah Alsina MBE, Chief Executive, Independent Age
Harry Quilter-Pinner, Associate Director and Head of the Better Health and Care Programme, Institute for Public Policy Research
Ben Page, Chief Executive, Ipsos MORI
Edel Harris, Chief Executive, Mencap
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive, Mind
Paul Marshall, Chief Executive, National Development Team for Inclusion
Louise Patten, Chief Executive, NHS Clinical Commissioners
Niall Dickson CBE, Chief Executive, NHS Confederation
Saffron Cordery, Deputy Chief Executive, NHS Providers
Vidhya Alakeson, Chief Executive, Power to Change
Sharon Smith and Jenefer Rees, Co-Chairs, Principal Social Worker National Network (Adults)
James Taylor, Executive Director of Strategy, Impact and Social Change, Scope
Richard Kramer, Chief Executive, Sense
Alex Fox OBE, Chief Executive, Shared Lives Plus
Oonagh Smyth, Chief Executive, Skills for Care
Rt Hon Paul Burstow, Chair, Social Care Institute for Excellence
Paul Najsarek, Community Wellbeing Spokesperson, Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers
Clenton Farquharson MBE, Chair, Think Local Act Personal
Dr Rhidian Hughes, Chief Executive, Voluntary Organisations Disability Group
1. People first and the value of social care
Whatever emerges post-COVID-19 should be rooted in, and guided by, what works for people, not what works for systems or structures. It must help support the realisation of the Think Local Act Personal ‘Making it Real’ framework that articulates what quality, personalised and community-based support looks like from the perspective of people, and also reflect the real and wide value of social care in its own right, both to people and to communities. In this way, social care must be considered as an important way in which we improve social justice and inclusion, and support people’s freedoms and human rights. COVID-19 has helped raise awareness of this and that must be built on for the future.
2. The importance of ‘local’
Social care plays a key role in making connections in our local communities between a wide range of public, private, voluntary and community organisations that all work together in supporting people to be well, safe and independent. Links with housing are particularly important so as to support people to remain independent at home and in their community. Councils’ democratic accountability and leadership supports effective partnership working at the local level and the Government should follow this lead by working with local government and its many partners as equals in helping to build resilient communities that are geared towards prevention, wellbeing and public health.
Any additional funding that is made available to social care, whether in the short- or medium-term, should not simply be used for ‘more of the same’ and the pre-COVID-19 status quo. Rather, it should be used to help us move to a more person-centred and preventative model of social care that is rooted in supporting people’s wellbeing in line with the Care Act and building resilience in our local public services and communities.
The future requirements of and for the social care workforce should be a far more prominent consideration for Government, both as a standalone priority and in respect of its links with NHS workforce planning.
5. Providers and commissioning
Traditional services (such as residential care, domiciliary care and day centres) will continue to have a role to play in the future. But they need to be part of a much broader local offer including smaller, more bespoke providers, micro-enterprises and wider community assets such as community-owned care, mutual aid and shared lives, that have all played a part in responding to the current pandemic. These help bolster community resilience and their potential to help secure a more preventative approach to wellbeing that supports people to live safely and well at home must be harnessed.
6. Health and integration
Health and social care are equally important and decisions and prioritisations about the future of each should reflect that. The needs of one should not be addressed to the detriment of the other and both should unite around embedding a far more preventative approach to wellbeing that works closely with public health and housing.
7. Care and support reform
Protecting a person from having to sell their home to pay for care is certainly one element of the ‘fairness debate’ at the heart of the question about long-term reform. But it is not the only one. The scope of and ambition for social care reform must be far greater, support adults of all ages including unpaid carers, and have at its heart a commitment to the Care Act wellbeing principle and improving people’s choice and control of the care and support they use to live their best life. Progress must be made quickly.