Caring for the vulnerable, elderly, and disabled are some of the most important duties that county authorities carry out every day. In total, 55% of England’s over 65s live in county areas, with the number of older people expected to grow at a faster rate than anywhere else in the country. As a result, CCN member councils are increasingly spending almost half their budgets – and indeed almost half of England’s adult social care spend – on ensuring that the elderly and disabled live independent and dignified lives.
However, these demographics mean that counties face the most acute pressures in delivering social care services. Yet funding does not follow need: counties are the lowest funded councils for social care, whilst their areas contain complex health economies with heavily fragmented local care markets. CCN’s advocacy and its ground-breaking evidence helped postpone implementation of Part 2 of the Care Act, and was important in securing and additional investment of £2bn by Government in social care as part of the March 2017 budget.
The drive towards health and social care integration offers the potential to align services so they work more efficiently, but counties local expertise and financial prudence must be utilised in the Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STP) process. Importantly, integration will only be successful if it is supplemented by long-term reform to social care and funding. With a planned review of social care provision forthcoming, CCN plans to continue its evidence-based advocacy to ensure counties retain a strong role in delivering and overseeing local care, with those areas properly funded based on their present and future need.