The County Councils Network has published a new think piece, The Other Side of the Coin, setting out key themes for reform of the adult social care system in the wake coronavirus pandemic.
The paper has been released to help shape thinking around the long-awaited social care green paper, and argues strongly that care should be kept local in any reforms, as councils have delivered quality services despite funding challenges.
Government stated last week that the paper was unlikely to be released this year.
The four themes highlighted in The Other Side of the Coin encompass:
- Scope: taking full account of the wide range of adult social care services delivered by councils and ensuring reform fully considers working age adults as well as older people and hospital discharges.
- Infrastructure: considering the best ways to deliver an adult social care system which is of high quality, provides value for money, and fully engages communities.
- Resource: providing the right resources for adult social care to be commissioned effectively to meet the needs of local communities
- Improvement: putting in place the necessary framework to not only ensure quality but create an ongoing culture of continuous improvement which helps everyone to live their best lives for as long as possible.
Separately, the County Councils Network has also announced that it will be commencing a new project in partnership with Newton Europe to explore and evidence the key themes for social care reform more deeply, drawing on the experience of local authorities delivering services on the ground and Newton’s expertise in the sector. The project is due to report later in the autumn.
Councillor David Fothergill, health and social care spokesperson for the County Councils Network, said, 'County authorities have been warning for several years that the adult social care system has been close to breaking point. Coronavirus has thrown into sharp focus the urgent need for reform of the system – a move which CCN and its member authorities would be very much welcome.
'However, any such reform must focus not on a narrow health-centric view of hospital discharges or care in residential homes but recognise the huge fabric of social care provision managed by local authorities – including for those of working age with chronic conditions or mental health issues.
'Adult social care is, fundamentally, a local community service and any proposals for reform need to consider the role local authorities have played in delivering quality care despite yearly funding reductions, rather than any knee-jerk moves towards centralisation. We therefore urge the Government to take on board the principles outlined in this paper so that county councils’ extensive experience of delivering adult social care is fully reflected in any future proposals for reform.'
Danny Sperrin, Director at Newton Europe, said, 'We are very much looking forward to working with the County Councils Network and its members, and to draw on our experience of delivering change with local authorities, in order to contribute to the national discussion on the future of social care.'