Social care provides care, support, and safeguards for those people in our communities who have the highest level of need and for their carers.

Good care and support transforms lives, helping people to live good lives, or the best they can, in a variety of circumstances. It enhances health and wellbeing, increasing independence, choice and control. It is distinctive, valued, and personal. This document sets out the key functions of adult social care and social work, the things that make it Distinctive, Valued, and Personal.

In 2015, David Pearson, the then ADASS President, introduced the first edition of this paper: ‘Distinctive, Valued, Personal: Why Social Care Matter – The next five years’ ADASS’ key statement about adult social care and social work.

At that time, an independent YouGov poll indicated that 1 in 3 people either receive or are in touch with social care services. The same poll identified that adult social care was the area in which the public would most like to see additional government investment, apart from the NHS.

Since that time the adult social care sector has come together - the third sector, providers, think tanks, supported by NHS colleagues - in recognition of the severe impact of continued reductions in funding, to raise awareness of the critical nature of social care and to position it as a national priority. The public and the media recognise that the situation is worse, not better. The impact of underfunding is experienced by disabled and older people and their families, by care staff and social workers, by care providers and by the health service.

We are living longer, which is a success story of our age that we should celebrate – but it has profound consequences for the kind of care and health services we need in the future.

There is not enough funding for social care and it has continued to reduce in real terms. More people are living longer; there are more people with disabilities who need care and support. Fewer and fewer of them are receiving public funding. This needs to be addressed.

We need adequately funded models of care that align – and re-design - care and health services effectively.

We urge politicians to act to meet the significant growth in the volume and complexity of needs faced by generations that rightly expect to lead longer more fulfilled lives.


Margaret Willcox

President Elect of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services

March 2017