Yes, the penny really is beginning to drop. Adult social care is part of the solution and not, as so many have asserted over the years, part of the problem. In fact, courtesy of the DH and DCLG, £37 million worth of pennies have dropped. We all know that we need a sustainable approach to social care funding over the next few years but it does help with the ability of social care to respond to the increased need this winter, on the care of people outside hospital.

Indeed it makes good sense to protect health and invest in community provision and social care. Needs are rising; resources are reducing and, as the NAO affirmed,  there is unmet need. DASSs will need to focus on the need to prioritise what, after all, is only two per cent of public expenditure for those who need the support of us all the most.

The new money – and it really is new money – has to be spent by the end of this financial year, and will go some way towards:

  • Helping to ensure seven day working across the country.
  • Ensuring that assessments for making arrangements for care happen as quickly as possible.
  • Ensuring that social work and other assessing staff plan more quickly for the support people need at home.
  • Making more support at home available, such as home care and equipment to help remain at home safely.
  • Funding the people who need a place in a residential or nursing home either on a temporary or permanent basis.

There is more to be done: crisis intervention needs to be enhanced; information should be shared more effectively; more supported living schemes such as extra care need to be developed, the voluntary sector more tightly involved, and much, much more besides.

Yes: the penny is beginning to drop. But for the future we need a lot, lot more than pennies.

David Pearson

President, Association of Directors of Adult Social Services