Adult Social Care Reform White Paper: CCN Response

CCN Latest News, CCN News 2021 | 01 December 2021

Today the government has published its adult social care reform white paper, People at the Heart of Care.

Below, the County Councils Network responds to the proposals.

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

“This is a ten-year plan for social care that has local government at its heart. We are pleased the government recognises that care is best delivered locally, and it is councils who can lead on many of the reforms outlined in this document.

“Proposals to digitalise social care, a greater emphasis on supported housing, policies on workforce recruitment, and a person-centred care service are what the County Councils Network (CCN) has called for and this white paper builds directly on our report with Newton earlier this year that showed the art of the possible with councils playing the lead role in transforming the system.

However, while CCN supports many of today’s proposals, we remain concerned that the amount of funding committed so far falls short of the ambitions laid out. In particular, there remains little detail on how the government will implement a ‘fair price for care’ and new duties for self-funders to access council arranged care and their rates. This policy alone could cost £761m a year in county areas, so it is vital that the government fully funds this aspect of the reform package, and works with local authorities and providers on its implementation to ensure it does not unintentionally destabilise care markets in the short term, or lead to unsustainable costs for councils.

Councils and providers face multiple financial challenges in delivering social care, including workforce pressures, which the Health and Social Care Levy does not address. Sufficient short-term funding is necessary so counties have a foundation to reform their services – which is why they need a fair distribution of resources in this month’s Local Government Finance Settlement. Looking longer-term, local government needs a higher share of the Health and Social Care Levy to ensure that services are sustainable and reforms are successfully implemented.”

Many of the proposals put forward in today’s white paper and ones that CCN and Newton called for in their joint report earlier this year.