ADASS welcomes Health Committee Report

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Date: Thursday, March 11 2010
Embargo: 00.01Hrs March 12 2010

Directors of adult social services have welcomed today's Health Committee report into social care as a sensible and level-headed contribution to an important series of debates. According to ADASS President Jenny Owen finding a political consensus on system reform as soon after the forthcoming election as possible, is 'of paramount importance'.

She went on to reiterate the ADASS view that part of the solution to the funding issue should be taxation-based, or come from a comprehensive settlement even if either has to be introduced on a phased basis. The Committee sees a 'window' of some 20 years before the current 'baby-boomer' generation reaches its mid-eighties. But Ms Owen pointed out that "even thinking about 20 year gaps could induce the wrong sort of thinking. The funding; the solutions; the staffing, and the commitment are all needed now," she insisted.

On other issues, ADASS agreed with the report's recommendations which:

  • SUPPORT the Law Commissions review of the law to make it consistent and coherent,
  • ARGUE that the ageing population should not just be seen as a negative, and neither should investment in social care. "Our services can make an important contribution to the economy and community wellbeing," Ms Owen said,
  • PLACE great importance on the development of personalised service. She added: "we are still implementing the Putting People First programme and good progress is being made."

In her response Ms Owen also stressed that despite the creaking system, social care is improving year on year, attested by the annual reports of both the CSCI and its successor, the Care Quality Commission.

"It is extremely important that the initiatives that have been set running in the past few weeks, and which will probably inform part of the coming election debate, are not left to gather dust once the election is past," she said. "Those same services will still be there, unsatisfactory, underfunded, and unfit for purpose, as will be the ever-growing armies of people who, one way or another, will be depending on them for their care and support."

Elsewhere, she agreed with Health Secretary Andy Burnham's concerns at the way so many - the majority - of social care workers are paid only near-minimum wage levels. "Paying such poor wages is unacceptable, and totally inconsistent with our and the Governments ambition of having high quality social care services.

"These low levels of remuneration are clear indications that there isnt enough money in the system," she said, "And they point to the urgent need for the forthcoming White Paper, and the new post-election administration, swiftly to agree ways of raising new finance for social care."

Ends

For further information please contact:
Jenny Owen, ADASS President, 01245 434806
Drew Clode, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755

NOTES FOR EDITORS

'Personalisation' is a term used to describe a number of ways in which vulnerable adults and their carers can receive a mixture of local authority and government money in order to pay directly for the care services they need without direct social services involvement. They will be helped in making an assessment of their needs and finances by social workers who will also involve and consider the needs and availability of informal carers. Any contractual agreement is therefore between the individual and the care worker or operator.

Both the government and the Commission for Social Care Inspection have urged local authorities to prioritise the roll-out of individual budgets. A National Director for Social Care Transformation was appointed in September 2008 to contribute to the development of personalised services.

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) represents directors of adult social services in local authorities in England. DASS's have statutory responsibilities for the social care of older people and adults with disabilities, while over 50 per cent also run social housing departments. ADASS members might also share a number of responsibilities for the provision and/or commissioning of leisure, library, culture and arts services within their councils.