The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Adult Social Care has revealed the findings of its inquiry in a report on the future of adult social care.
The inquiry collected information on the state of adult social care services for older and disabled people and looked at the value of these services to local communities and individuals.
This included identifying some of the challenges, as well examples of best practice and the opportunities for the future.
The inquiry consisted of an online survey which invited responses from people who experience adult social care, social care providers, people working in the adult social care sector (including social workers, support workers and occupational therapists), commissioners, government representatives, charities and professional bodies. Oral evidence sessions were also held.
The inquiry received over 250 submissions of evidence altogether. These came from across the UK, with every region and nation being represented, although the majority of respondents were from Yorkshire and the Humber and the South East.
Of those who responded, 23.7% had a personal experience of receiving adult social care, either personally or through a family member; 19.8% of respondents worked for an adult social care provider, but not in a direct care or support role; and 25.7% worked as a care or support worker, such as a personal assistant. The remainder of the respondents covered other roles in the health care sector such as occupational therapists, or were commissioners of services or worked in the formulation of policy for example.
Responses showed that, despite challenges across the country, many people who use services continue to receive good quality care and are happy with the support they receive.
When asked about the top three improvements needed to make a difference, increased funding was by far the most common response. This was followed by a stronger focus on supporting people to live more independently, and involving more people with experience of adult social care in the design of services.
The report also found:
- Respondents felt that adult social care makes a difference to people’s lives, with an average score of 7.6/10, indicating that it has the capacity to make a transformative and substantial impact.
- The majority of respondents feel that perceptions about the status of the profession (71%) and low pay (72%) are the major reasons people are deterred from a career in social care.
- The average score for the media’s portrayal of adult social care being accurate was 3.3/10 – with one being extremely inaccurate and 10 accurate.
- The average score for the potential of new technology to help revolutionise the way adult social care is delivered was 5.3/10.
- The average score for how rewarding it is to work in adult social care was 7.1/10.
Following this evidence, the report on the future of adult social care has made the following recommendations:
- The APPG for Adult Social Care should work to facilitate a debate as to what the future of adult social care should look like. This should lead to a vision that builds on current best practice in the adult social care system, and its leadership and capacity to innovate.
- A cross-party solution is needed to provide a sustainable vision for the future, so that the strengths of the adult social care system can be built upon.
- People with experience of using adult social care services must be fully involved in the co-design and co-production of adult social care services.
- There should be a stronger focus on supporting people to live more independently, with a more positive portrayal of the value and benefits of working in the sector, and a greater appreciation of the value and skills of the workforce.
- Parity of esteem between health and social care should be built and seen as essential.
- The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care should be encouraged to use their full title and wear a care badge alongside the NHS badge, to help raise the public profile of adult social care.
- Government should build on existing best practice to promote and support good practice in commissioning policies, the delivery of high quality services and investing in training.
- Personalisation of care and support should be encouraged as much as possible.
Read the full report on the future of adult social care on the All-Party Parliamentary Group's website.