CCN News 2015 | 23 July 2015
Last Friday (17th July), the Government delayed implementation of Part Two of the Care Act. This includes all aspects of the reforms due to come into force from April 2016, including the £72,000 cap on care, £118,000 means-test threshold and duty for local authorities to meet the eligible needs of self-funders.
We understand the Government’s decision to delay implementation. CCN member councils are supportive of the principles that underpin the Act and remain committed to supporting the implementation of the cap by 2020. However, we believe that the level of funding proposed was inadequate to deliver the reforms in the way intended by 2016/17.
Through CCN’s extensive research and collaboration with Government on the Care Act over the past 18 months, this is an issue we have consistently raised with Ministers and Officials. At a time of real financial restraint and growing demand-led pressures in adult social care, we can ill-afford unfunded new spending commitments and exposure to yet unquantified risks.
In particular, our recent report County Care Markets: Market Sustainability and the Care Act highlighted that at present local care markets are unsustainable due to current funding arrangements. Implementation of Part 2 would have only exacerbated this situation, leading to potential failure of care home providers and even more strain on the budgets of local authorities.
In our recent meeting with the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, and various meetings with Officials over the past six months we have raised our concerns. We discussed at length our concerns over the impact of the Care Act on local care markets and increased financial risks posed to our member councils. It is clear that the Government has listened to our concerns and the conclusions of this ground-breaking research have been highly influential in the decision taken by Government.
Despite the delay, we must not lose sight of the fact that counties have been preparing for these reforms for some 18 months now and have put in place extensive implementation plans and transformation programmes to meet new duties under both part one and two of the Act.
With counties already beginning implementation of the Act, CCN will be seeking urgent clarification that all 2015/16 funding must remain with local authorities. The big test in the coming weeks is to work closely with Government to ensure that the total £6bn for Part 2 of the Care Act is allocated to social care services during the Spending Review to provide a more reasonable funding settlement for local services against a rising tide of demand and implementation of the living wage during this Parliament.
This additional funding is critical for securing the future of local care markets, delivering health and social care integration and facilitating the development of better community-based services. It will help place adult social care funding on a more sustainable footing ahead of implementing the Cap on Care and means-test threshold in 2020/21. Without a fully functioning and fully funded social care system our most vulnerable residents will be unable to receive the care and support they deserve.
Following CCN’s meeting with the Secretary of State for Health and his recent speech at the LGA conference it is clear that Jeremy Hunt believes that quality social care services are integral to the future sustainability of our national health service.
CCN support his vision for health and social care integration and will work with the Government to deliver it during this Parliament.
Cllr Paul Carter, CCN Spokesman for Health & Social Care