Helping the public to recognise the importance of social care will be 'the most essential task' for the social care sector as it engages with the Government’s upcoming Green Paper on social care, the incoming President of the Association of Directors of Social Services (ADASS) will set out in his inaugural speech.
Glen Garrod, Director of Adult Social Services for Lincolnshire, who now assumes the responsibility for representing adult social care nationally for the next year, will also argue that delivering individual, person-centred care is essential to support our ageing population.
'Whether it’s the young adult with a profound disability or the grandparent with dementia, social care is there for us when we are at our most vulnerable. Helping the public to understand our contribution is perhaps our single most important task over the next year. They are the force for change to be reckoned with, the power to be harnessed,' Mr Garrod will argue in his inaugural speech later today.
The preventative and essential role of social care is often less well-understood by the public when compared to the NHS' frontline services. Adult social care services face an overall £2bn shortfall in their finances by 2020.
'The impact of this can already be seen in care homes closing and homecare providers handing back contracts. ADASS is preparing to make the case that investment in social care reaps rewards, for instance in significantly reducing the numbers of people stuck in hospital over the last six months, as part of its approach to the upcoming Green Paper.
With the Government’s Green Paper and work concerning working age adults on social care due in coming months, ADASS will focus on galvanising public opinion to ensure that the Government can deliver a long-term funding proposal for social care so we all know what we are responsible for and so that we can feel secure for ourselves, for our families and for all of our futures in coming months.
In a radical break from previous ADASS leaders, the incoming President will not outline priorities for the coming year, urging political leaders and social care staff from across the country to focus on the 'opportunities' that the sector presents, with the upcoming social care Green Paper key.
Mr Garrod will argue for person-centred, individualised care as he opens his tenure, 'Personalisation is our space, we cannot stagnate and watch other areas pass us by. There can be no excuses. This explosion of opportunities to expand personalisation is within our gift to reinforce and rejuvenate and it is essential that we deliver it.'
Comparing the ability of other sectors to harness technologies that can deliver individualised services, such as transport or finance, Mr Garrod will argue for a similar approach with social care, 'We desperately need to see "creative disruption" in social care, and in order to do that, we must encourage many more people to manage their care according to their own needs and desires.'
With this in mind, Mr Garrod, whose wife is a GP, will acknowledge that though there are opportunities for the NHS and social care to work together, the upcoming social care Green Paper must provide a long-term funding solution for social care as a discipline in itself.
He will say, 'Any relationship, personal or professional, depends on differences being respected, working alongside one another, and recognising that sometimes disagreement is helpful. This "critical friend" relationship is one that ADASS will develop with the NHS over the course of my presidency.'
The full list of opportunities that Mr. Garrod will urge social care teams to seize in the coming year include:
- Educating the public on the value of social care. Describing this as ADASS' 'Most Essential Task', Mr. Garrod will argue that it is essential public opinion is shifted so a long-term funding solution for social care is provided, claiming that the public 'are the force for change to be reckoned with, the power to be harnessed'.
- The Social Care Green Paper. Ensuring that the Government provides a long-term funding solution for social care is essential, and ADASS will be advocating for this, alongside immediate, interim funding to help the sector cope with the current crisis.
- Developing care tools and early intervention for those in supported housing. With supported housing providing an opportunity to intervene early and help reduce care needs of those using it, ADASS will look at ways to develop and respond early to prevent social care needs spiralling, and how to support people in this housing.
- Harnessing new technologies to provide effective social care. With industries such as taxis, delivery and mapping revolutionised by apps and mobile technology, social care teams are encouraged to continue innovating in this area, and ADASS will look at the role technology plays in social care and what can be developed, too.
- Developing a 'critical friend' relationship with the NHS. Ensuring that patients experience a seamless transition in care transfers where possible is essential, and with social care experiencing half the delays in care transfers that the NHS does, social care teams will share best practice where possible, but not be afraid to stand up for social care in its own right when necessary.
Commenting on the speech, Minister for Care, Caroline Dinenage said, 'The social care sector, and the workforce that underpins it, fulfils an essential role in caring for society's most vulnerable people. However, it’s clear that the system is facing unprecedented pressures as a result of our ageing population.
'I look forward to working closely with the new President of the Association of Directors of Social Services on our forthcoming Green Paper. This will set out vital reforms to support the social care workforce, find a sustainable financial footing and bring health and social care closer together to deliver the best quality of care into the future.'