Adult social care reform: further details announced

CCN Latest News, CCN News 2021 | 16 December 2021

Earlier today via a written statement in the House of Commons the Government have announced further details of a Market Sustainability and Fair Cost of Care Fund: 2022 to 2023. A short document containing the proposals can be found here.

The document outlines further high level details, alongside funding details, for the introduction of a ‘fair price for care’ and the implementation of duties under Section 18(3) of the Care Act to allow self-funders to ask their local authority to arrange care on their behalf.

Cllr Martin Tett, Adult Social Care Spokesperson for the County Councils Network, said:

“Today the government has set out important new details on its adult social care reforms package, including details of how local authorities will be expected to move towards a ‘fair price for care’. The County Councils Network (CCN) supports the principles of these reforms, and recognises the need to address the difference in the fees paid by individuals who arrange and pay their own care compared to those negotiated by local authorities for arranged care.

“However, we remain concerned that the funding committed today for this policy – £1.4bn for the whole country over the next three years – will not be sufficient. We estimate that this move to allow more private care users to access lower local authority rates is likely to cost up to £761m per year in county areas alone and this excludes homecare.

“We cannot underestimate the cost and implementation challenges of moving towards an equalised price for care. County areas are home to a higher proportion of people who arrange and pay for their own care, and those areas’ care markets will be particularly vulnerable to changes. The government’s document recognises this challenge and we want to work with ministers to make sure this policy can be introduced successfully in 2023 without destabilising county care markets or placing unsustainable costs on care providers.

“Looking ahead, it is imperative that any funding for this policy is distributed fairly. While CCN supports the use of the Adult Social Care Relative Needs Formula in the short term, it does not take into account those increased numbers of self-funders in county areas. As part of government reforms to local government funding, it is essential that a new adult social care funding formula is introduced to support reforms to the care system.”

CCN’s September publication The State of Care in Counties and Rural Areas analysed these proposed reforms for county areas.

Download it here.