The incoming President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) will make her opening address to colleagues today. Julie Ogley, new ADASS President, will ask social care leaders to envisage the future as well as deal with the reality of now, in order to transform people’s lives.
Julie will encourage colleagues to imagine the future for adult social care and how this could be improved upon in the next decade and beyond, asking them if this is what they would want for themselves and their loved ones.
The new ADASS President will ask, 'Do we think that our current model is going to last for the next five, 10 years or generation? Is it what you would want and for your families? Are we truly embracing technology and digitisation, in how our workforce operates and how care is delivered?
'Why can I book a weekend break from my sofa, but not respite care? Why can’t people self-serve or manage their own support?'
About the current social care agenda Ms Ogley, who is also Director of Social Care, Health and Housing at Central Bedfordshire Council, will say that a decade of austerity has found the sector 'serving less people, with a fragile care market, a fragile workforce with no national workforce strategy, unsustainable funding without a settlement but increasingly reliant on one-off grant funding', with no green paper providing a future strategic direction.
This is further compounded by the impact on people’s wellbeing from welfare reforms, homelessness and rough sleeping, the new ADASS President will say.
However despite these constraints, adult social care has 'a very skilled, committed workforce that comes to work every day to improve people’s lives' and Julie will highlight the very significant improvements around Delayed Transfers of Care as an example of what can be achieved by colleagues with limited resources and moving towards community approaches.
Julie will be posing questions about why the adult social care workforce is not salaried and the lack of a national workforce strategy for the sector, saying, 'Do we really expect colleagues to try and bring up a family on current levels of pay in housing that’s unaffordable?
'How can we be confident that there will be carers to care for us when we’re older? Is our workforce held in the same esteem as that of the NHS - if not, why not?'
Julie will highlight the role of the more than 1.4 million people working in social care and how many of her colleagues have talked about the worryingly-complex system in which they operate.
Social care also needs to make sure that it is not just defined by its relationship with health, at the expense of other important areas including housing, leisure, public health and planning which help define and design places, Julie will say.
Looking ahead, the new ADASS President will say that there are three strands attached to the future based on ADASS values and beliefs: the leadership of adult social care; the regional sector led improvement and support offer; and speaking the truth to say what may be uncomfortable and challenging for others to hear.