Government sets out next steps on social care reform: CCN responds

CCN Latest News, CCN News 2023 | 04 April 2023

Today the government has published an update to its 2021 Social Care White Paper, The Next Steps to Put People at the Heart of Care.

The proposals contain new announcements on the adult social care reform programme, including greater use of technology and digitisation.

However, funding to support workforce reforms, including training, has been reduced from £500m to £250m.

Below, the County Councils Network responds.

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

Today’s announcement builds on the Adult Social Care White Paper and sets out a clear direction of travel on the breadth of reform and how it will be achieved, particularly in the areas of workforce, housing for care users, and digital innovation from councils and providers. Many of the reforms contained in the plan mirror the County Councils Network’s proposals set out in 2021 and councils will now work to implement these reforms as effectively as possible to improve the quality and availability of care for those who need it.

“The funding package announced by the Chancellor last Autumn for social care was vital – enabling councils to weather the storm of inflationary costs and increased demand so they have a good chance at stabilising services and effectively implementing these reforms. But today’s announcement that funding to support wider system reforms has been reduced will be deeply disappointing for county authorities.

“In particular, whilst we welcome many of the measures on workforce qualifications and career progression, there is a 9.5% vacancy rate in the social care sector in county areas – higher than the national average. Tackling the challenge of workforce capacity was a key plank of reform, and a reduction in funding coupled with a lack of focus on pay and conditions will ultimately make it harder to drive forward these vital reforms.”