Good morning colleagues and thank you Julie. I will just say a few words today about our work at the present time and the future, and will be making a series of short film clips to send out over the networks about the wider priorities and work of Adass.

It is a great privilege to take up the Adass presidency on your behalf and that with your support I will be able to do it justice.

I will start with thanks to Julie Ogley, our Immediate Past President who has been very supportive and a friend to me, and who I think has been incredibly wise, and clear and influential and inclusive in her role. Adass, is a stronger and a wider membership organisation under Julie’s leadership.

I would like to thank formally Andrew Proctor, the Leader of Norfolk County Council, and my cabinet member Cllr Bill Borrett, for the support in taking on the Adass role. We rely, don’t we, on our Local Government base to give us our sense of place in how we lead.

I would also like to thank the members of Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) who have worked with me as Vice President to make sure I hear the voices of people using social care and I commit as president to continuing to hear from people to shape the year.

Finally, I welcome working with Stephen Chandler, the Vice President, over the next year on the challenging agenda we face.

 

The present – our actions in the COVID-19 pandemic

Turning to our present. I pay tribute to those people who have lost their lives in this crisis, in particular those older and disabled people;  and those who work in ASC and health.

Social care will never be seen in the same light again. The pandemic has revealed just how essential a part it is in our lives. Social Care is part of our social infrastructure. We are certainly standing up to be counted. We certainly have the recognition.

And to Government and NHSE- never again can we think just about acute health care without thinking about social care and community, primary and mental health care, PAs and Carers as critical areas of support and wellbeing.

We have worked together to reduce the occupancy of our hospitals so that they can cope, but now we must protect social care and the NHS cannot shift towards normalisation and recovery without checking that social care can cope, and whether people can be safeguarded.

And to the government that is now looking anxiously at the financial frailty and the staffing difficulties of care providers, we should recognise that it took a few years to build up this distressed situation which needs to be addressed now with sustained support in a partnership with local government.

The strength of ADASS comes from each and every one of its members. This is why the expertise and experience of ADASS has been the first port of call for Government during this crisis. I and others will work with that. Sometimes an uncomfortable position for a member organisation like us, but essential that we do this until we have the space for discussions for the new normal and for reform. 

We must recognise that the exit for social care will be slow, with many outbreaks and waves

It’s important to find positivity in the face of adversity. We are frustrated by lack of investment ASC, by the lack of resources for prevention, and angry about the inequalities. But the pandemic has shown what could and should be possible going forward.

 

Looking beyond the present

It vital that we do not lose sight of those long-term issues which will shape the future of adult social care.

In short- certainty about funding over the course of this Parliament (Spending Review), the meaningful reform of the social care funding system and the development of a long-term plan for adult social care.

The new normal for social care could retain the best elements of the COVID-19 transformations – community-led discharges so long as they are safe and lead to home, direct support services for vulnerable people with a new prevention relationship, cooperation to eliminate rough sleeping, a new relationship between councils and CQC at a local level, a radical expansion of the social care workforce, a more interventionist approach in favour of care market stability, better quality, better pay.

But if we go back to a savings agenda, that opportunity will mostly likely be lost. Government should enable councils to write off council savings for 2020-21 whilst they work up their national proposals and priorities.

 

In terms of our priorities

We are committed to;

  • make the health and care system sustainable and integrated,
  • to stabilise and improve care provision and
  • to achieve social justice and inclusion.

Underpinned by the right workforce, resources and technology.

For my presidential year, I hope that social justice and inclusion, in particular, can be strong guiding principles in what we do. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that our world is small, interconnected, and every one of our lives matters, but our lives are not equal.

We should fight for equality of outcomes; whether for the BAME people hit harder by this pandemic, for the prisoners in permanent lock down, for the increase number of people affected by abuse, for rough sleepers who are so excluded and so much more at risk. Life can be very short but its precious. We and our social workers should focus on freedom, independence, on safeguarding, on prevention, on good advice: so that we support good lives, and give dignity and respect.

I look forward to working with you, the membership, serving you and representing you.