The Association of Directors of Adult Social Care Services (ADASS) published its 2021 Spring Survey this week.
The ADASS survey was completed between April and June by 147 (97%) of the 152 principal councils in England responsible for adult social services.
Directors of social services report that almost 75,000 disabled and older people and carers are waiting for help with their care and support, as social services struggle to cope with an avalanche of needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report revealed that almost 7,000 people have been waiting more than six months for an assessment. Despite the worsening delays in meeting people’s needs, councils are being forced to plan for savings of £600m in social services spending this year.
Directors are concerned about being able to help people of working age who have disabilities or other needs as they are about being able to support older people. Just 3% of directors say they are worried most about older people.
Councils were found to be making £601m savings in services in 2021-22, representing an average 3.7% of budgets. Savings will mostly be through greater efficiency, or doing more for less, and developing so-called ‘asset-based’ support, whereby people receive help from within their local community rather than from formal services. Since 2010, councils have made a cumulative total of more than £8bn savings.
However, only one in five directors say they are fully confident of making planned savings this year or of meeting all their statutory duties. Specifically, fewer than one in four directors is confident of meeting their duties to provide information and advice, safeguard all people considered at risk, or carry out assessments of all people seeking care and support.
Stephen Chandler, ADASS president, said, ‘Our survey shows starkly why the government must now, without any further delay, produce its plans to reform social care. We have called for the outline of the plans to be tabled before parliament starts its six-week summer recess next week. Those plans must address the needs of people of working age as well as older people.’
Chief Executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence, Kathryn Smith, said, ‘We agree with ADASS that under-investment means that more people are in need of social care and support, but fewer are getting it; and many are getting less. Political leaders know that this is high on the agenda. Today we join ADASS and others in calling for sustainable reform for adult social care.’
Visit the ADASS website to read the ADASS Spring Survey in full.