Adult social care: ADASS makes a new offer for a new era

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Date: Monday 17th October 2011
Embargo: 00:01 hrs Tuesday 18th October 2011

On the eve of the annual social care conference - held in London this year - and as the Health and Social Care Bill concludes its Parliamentary stages, Lord Norman Warner has written a pungent article in ADASS Futures**  reminding Parliamentarians of what he believes is a simple truth about adult social care.

In uncompromising style he writes: At the heart of the NHS reform agenda is the need to reduce the resources going into an expensive and underperforming acute hospital sector which accounts for 50 per cent of NHS expenditure. It is this factor that almost singlehandedly prevents more resources going into adult social care. We are locked into an NHS that lacks an effective system for replacing failing and unsustainable acute hospital providers
The one-time Government Health Minister and former director of social services goes on to warn that the NHS faces making four per cent efficiency savings in each of the next four years when it has never made a four per cent efficiency gain in any one year of its history... Commissioning is weak; there is organisational confusion; development of community alternatives to hospitals is slow; and there is a great reluctance to replace failing service providers with a more diverse range of providers.
And there are political and professional divisions over the need for more competition and the kind of mixed economy of service providers that adult social care has had for two decades.
Lord Warner, who was a member of the three-person Dilnot Commission which recently reported on the funding of care and support concludes: Governments now face difficult choices. Do they go on pumping more taxpayers money into an NHS slow to change and largely monopolistic? Or do they risk political opprobrium by opting for the more radical change needed? Labour did a bit of both and then gave up. The Coalition threatened more radical change, got frightened and has now confused most people about what it is trying to do.
Elsewhere in the journal:
* ADASS President Peter Hay and honorary secretary Richard Webb discuss ADASSs response to the challenges posed by the Southern Cross affair,
* ADASS vice president Sarah Pickup distinguishes between the Dilnot Commissions recommendations on funding and support, and the need to ensure that the quantum of resources needed for adult social care is properly addressed in the next spending review,
* BBC social affairs correspondent Alison Holt reflects on the impact of dementia on one womans life,
* Former Guardian Society editor Malcolm Dean laments the loss of the weekly social policy supplement.
At the start of what promises to be a vital week for adult and childrens social care, ADASS President Peter Hay said we are now entering an extremely important phase in the development of adult social care in England. In the face of unprecedented and undeniable financial restraint and a lasting one too - adult social services are reconsidering the ways in which we work. We are bent on putting vulnerable adults and their needs at the centre of our thinking and doing at all times; aiming at absolute transparency in our dealings with users and providers, and demonstrably taking great strides towards making a reality of personalisation.
We are fully engaged in the build up to next years social care White Paper, intending as we do to provide a fully comprehensive social care service which is clearly understandable by everyone who uses it, even as they undergo serious crises in their or their loved ones lives; where people are free of financial insecurity as they become less independent, and which offers a dignified and safe peace of mind in old age. In short, a new offer for a new era: a 21st century offer to meet 21st century needs.
* Peter Hay is due to address conference on Thursday morning, October 20
* Stephen Dorell, chairman of the health select committee is due to give the conference opening plenary speech on Wednesday October 19
* Secretary of State Andrew Lansley gives his keynote speech on Friday October 20
For further information contact:
Peter Hay, ADASS President, 0121 303 2992
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755
The NCASC Conference Press Office: 020 7069 6031/6032
Venue: ICC London ExCeL
Wednesday 19 Friday 21 October 2011
Copies of ADASS Futures available online here
Hard copies available from Fionnuala Morrissey, ADASS Business Unit, 020 7072 7434
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) represents directors of adult social services in local authorities in England. DASSs 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 housing, leisure, library, culture and arts services within their councils.
`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 carers. Any contractual agreement is therefore between the individual and the care worker or operator.
** ADASS Futures is the journal of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services. Contributions do not necessarily reflect ADASS views