Wednesday September 3, 2014

The Barker Commission report points to "one of the most important discussions to take place in the first part of this century. Our modern, wealthy society must decide how much it is going to set aside from national income to meet health and care needs; what contribution the state will make, and what we expect from our citizens in terms of a contribution," according ADASS President David Pearson.

Arguing that we need to consider all the implications that arise from growing numbers of older people, he said: "the Commission rightly points out that expenditure will need to increase as a proportion of GDP as opposed to the dramatic decrease we are currently experiencing in social care funding, as demonstrated by our budget survey published earlier this year.

"Barker has explored ways of bringing in additional money and the connections between care and the welfare system. They are trying to design a simplified system graduated according to need, and we will all want to consider their proposals and test them over the coming weeks."

Mr Pearson stopped short of endorsing single budgets for health and social care, emphasising more the need to ensure plans for individuals are centred around their needs and properly coordinated. He stressed that "services should be delivered locally by health and social care professionals and should be accountable to local people through local democracy." 

Of the proposal that social care should be free he said that there is 'no doubt' that creating a more coherent payment structure would serve to remove some of the barriers to a more integrated approach. "We must, however, make sure that there is sufficient funding in the first place: a free system that is poorly funded may well serve to create no more than an illusion of progress.

"This report lands at a crossroads for public services and expenditure with the impetus to meet rising needs, falling resourcesandadesire to see a more integrated, personalised system coming to the fore. Thank you to the Barker Commission for highlighting the issues and prompting the debate. In the lead up to a general election whatever the merits of the specific proposals,thereisno doubt of the need to seek coherent and clear solutions."
 

ENDS

For further information contact:
David Pearson, ADASS President, 0115 977 4636
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755

* ANew Settlement for Health and Social Care: final report. King’s Fund September2014
 

Editorial Notes

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services(ADASS) represents directors and senior managers of adult social servicesdepartments in English local authorities. Directors (DASSs) have statutoryresponsibilities for the social care of older people, adults with disabilities andadults with mental health needs.

Inmany authorities ADASS members will also share a number of responsibilities forthe provision and/or commissioning of housing, leisure, libraries, culture, andcommunity safety on behalf of their councils. More than a third of DASSs arealso the statutory director of children’s services for their authority.