Judicial Reviews: ADASS President throws out offer to private care home owners

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Date: Wednesday 16th November 2011
Embargo: Thursday 17th November 2011

ADASS President Peter Hay has made an unprecedented offer to private care home owners to join him and other directors of adult social services in talks about fee levels paid by local councils.

In the middle of a continuing series of judicial reviews concerning fee levels paid for older and vulnerable adults in residential care, and at the end of a gruelling transfer of some 750 Southern Cross homes to other providers, Mr Hay asked the home owners at their annual conference*:

  • Can we agree on some simple guidelines for a common approach to fees or shall we pull apart when, really, we have a greater, common cause in the care of your residents/our citizens?
  • Shouldnt we consider mediation before we rush to judicial reviews and having to spend money on legal actions that neither of us has?
  • Shouldnt we do this at a speed which allows us to show the quality the very high quality of our business to the people that matter, rather than letting others talk that business down?

In his keynote address, Mr Hay extended this olive branch in a time which he described as `chillingly austere: when events at Southern Cross and Castlebeck have vividly illuminated what can happen to vulnerable people when social care goes missing, and when social care budgets for 2012/14 (years 2 and 3 of the Comprehensive Spending Review) could well be cut by more than the £1 billion they have been cut this year.

This at a time when

  • The gap between the needs of older and vulnerable people, and the resources available to meet those needs, is growing ever wider. "There are no gap-deniers," he said: "no flat-earthers around people who dont think this established and growing gap is emerging, however much we might disagree on the size of the gap."
  • Unintentionally, judicial reviews are hardening arteries around the use of eligibility criteria to allocate funds, when those criteria are the only means by which resources can be controlled within the system.
  • The barriers to social and health care integration are strengthening, even though integration is a known mechanism through which additional resources can be controlled within the care system.

Mr Hay ended his speech by emphasising again the vision for social care that ADASS is bringing into the 21st century: a vision for a "single, simple and personalised social care system which is understandable at the point of crisis, frees people from fears about its affordability, and offers peace of mind though dignity and safety for individuals." He ended: "Its not just a story about older and vulnerable people. Its our story too!"

ENDS

For further information contact:
Peter Hay, ADASS President, 0121 303 2992
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755

* The English Community Care Association (ECCA)

Pictures of Peter Hay available on demand.

Slides of the entire speech available at:
http://www.adass.org.uk/images/stories/events/Speeches%20and%20Presentations/hay161111.ppt

EDITORIAL NOTES

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.

The government has 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.