Praise for social care staff - ADSS, LGA

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
The Local Government Association
Date: Tuesday June 24, 2008
Embargo: 00.01hrs Thursday June 26, 2008

Council leader and directors of adult social services today praised social care staff for their efforts to improve social care at a time of increasing demand for services.

The LGA and Association of Directors of Social Services today publish the results of a survey of adult social care.

The survey reveals that:

  • Nearly a quarter of a billion pounds was spent on services that help make peoples lives easier and stop them having to access social and health services in the first place. These services are available to people without any formal assessment and without having to meet eligibility criteria. Councils delivered over £240m of efficiencies in social care through more effective use of resources .
     
  • There was a 34% increase in the number of older people receiving direct payments, enabling them to manage their own care and support.

The survey also reveals that councils continue to face a number of pressures in this area, confirming the points made by LGA-ADASS at CSR07. Increased demand is forcing local authorities to ration lower-level social care for the elderly and disabled slightly further than in previous years. In addition, councils are also facing significant cost pressures: the weekly cost of care home placements, for example, rose by more than 7%.

The survey highlights the importance of the governments consultation and Green Paper on the future of social care, which was launched in May. Given the challenge of an ageing population there is a clear need to think about how social care should be provided in the future.

The LGA and ADASS will play a full role in the consultation: the LGA has already called for government to go much further with proposals for bringing together all the different types of care and support in a single system, and for the care system to be significantly simplified to ensure that vulnerable people dont miss out on care simply because the application process is so complicated.

However, both organisations are urging government not to lose sight of immediate pressures on the current system.

Commenting on the report, John Dixon, President of ADASS, said: We are expanding services made available to everyone and we are providing services more efficiently. It is a credit to our staff that they have continued to work so hard and so effectively on behalf of the adults in their communities despite the pressures of increased demand.

We have been able to increase the number of Direct Payments to older people and people with disabilities by a third. Improved commissioning practices have helped save money, and will continue to save money well into next year as well. We have also increased the amount of money we have contributed to pooled spending with colleagues in the NHS. So-called 'bed-blocking is a thing of the past.

All these will provide an excellent foundation for rolling out the personalisation agenda, and for the future of social care after the green paper. However, government must not allow the consultation and green paper to distract from the existing problems of increased demand and cost pressures.

Cllr David Rogers, LGA spokesperson on social care, said: The consultation launched by the government is a positive move and councils will play a key role in ensuring that social care in the future provides people with the care that they expect and deserve. There is a need to think creatively about how we will pay for the care of an ageing population and it is vital that the public are involved in the debate about reforming a service that touches so many peoples lives.

However, long term solutions do little to relieve the pressing problems that face councils today. Town halls are doing a great job to give people the support they need in a tight financial situation but have found their hands tied because increased demand has placed a huge strain on council budgets.

Proposals for long term reform, which may not have an impact for another generation, risk losing sight of the fact that people are missing out on vital care and support now and urgent action needs to be taken as well as planning for the longer term."

ENDS

For further information contact:
John Dixon, President, ADASS, 01243 777660
Nicholas Mann, LGA Press, 020 7664 3187
Drew Clode, ADASS Press/Policy Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755Copies of the full report are available at www.adass.org.uk  and www.lga.gov.uk