Green Paper 'a major milestone' on the way to better, fairer care - ADASS
Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Date: Tuesday July 14, 2009
Embargo: 3:30PM Tuesday 14 July, 2009
The people responsible for buying or providing a wide range of services for older people and adults with disabilities have welcomed todays Green Paper on shaping the future of their care and support. It is, they say, the beginning of an essential and timely debate which will help build care arrangements fit for the twenty first century.
According to directors of adult social services, the document should stimulate a major national debate about new ways of funding care services, and about new relationships between the citizen, their families, communities and the state.
Welcoming the reports emphasis on three major principles - fairness, simplicity and affordability - Jenny Owen, ADASS President said: the current system was designed 60 years ago for a totally different society, with totally different expectations of longevity, and with totally different explanations of what it meant to be old, or poor, or disabled, or vulnerable. It was a society still firmly in the grip of Poor Law values.
It now has to be replaced with one which puts citizens at the centre of its focus, where basic elements of social care are available to all as an entitlement according to need and circumstances, carefully integrated with health, housing, community and other services, making sure that people are cared for and protected in a much fairer, quality-driven way than is currently the case.
Ms Owen added: The Green Paper, we hope, points the way towards ending a system in which people find it hard to understand what they are entitled to and what financial contribution they will have to pay towards the cost of their care. Any new system which emerges must be open, transparent about costs and what people can expect to pay and are entitled to receive wherever they live. And it must enhance the continued transformation of social care in a way which helps individuals take greater control of their lives, and care budgets.
ADASS members will be glad that the principles in the Green Paper adequately reflect the importance of personalising services along the lines set out in the 2007 Concordat, and reinforced in the Governments Putting People First.
A new system must concentrate on improving those wider, universal services committed to enhancing the information and advice available to individuals, the safety of the communities in which they live, and the wellbeing of all those who live in them. It should also highlight important, effective, and sometimes quite simple preventative measures that can so often save people from harm while easing the pressures on other budgets.
Directors are committed to stimulating the debate, in their local communities and among their own staff, about how much individuals should contribute to their social care, and how much should be paid for by the state, as well as the several different mechanisms through which individuals can contribute. ADASS is concerned that whatever option is chosen, an appropriate balance is struck between the respective obligations and responsibilities of central and local government.
The Association also welcomes:
* The emphasis within the Green Paper on critical workforce issues, and its recognition of the central place of social care workers and the social work profession,
* The concentration throughout the document on quality services, and not just on the funding issues.
According to Ms Owen: This Green Paper has set the tone by which this hugely important debate is to be held. It will serve as a significant milestone on the road to a new and fairer system of care in which older people as well as their families can have greater faith that their care and support needs will be properly met. In the current economic climate making a reality of this is an exciting challenge for this, or for any future, government.
For further information contact:
Jenny Owen, ADASS President, 01245 434806
Richard Jones, ADASS Vice President, 01772 534390
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755
Pictures of Jenny Owen and Richard Jones available on request.
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 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 informal carers. Any contractual agreement is therefore between the individual and the careworker or operator.
Both the government and the former Commission for Social Care Inspection have 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.