Consecutive governments have failed to address the crisis of funding adult social care, which is in a “parlous” state according to a Lincolnshire County Council director.
Glenn Garrod, executive director for adult care and community wellbeing at the authority, said austerity was “continuing” in social care and the government needs to outline its funding proposals.
It comes as the government has delayed publishing a green paper on adult care funding four times. It’s now expected to be revealed in the Spring.
The paper will indicate Whitehall’s intentions for the sector, including how to fund services in the future.
Mr Garrod said £7 billion has already been removed from the care budget nationally and that councils across the country still need to make £500 million worth of savings next year.
He said the service needs to give people more control over their own budgets, as well as giving local authority’s greater oversight over both health and social care.
“At the moment adult social care is in a parlous state having had many years of austerity that are continuing,” he said.
He added that he expects the government to outline four areas of investment in adult care.
- Digital technology
- Improvements in housing
- Links with the NHS Long Term Plan, including personalisation
- Integration in health
Meanwhile, Mr Garrod, who is also president of the association of directors of adult social services in England, said more needed to be done to recognise adult care workers.
“We would like to see to see a large section that develops the social care workforce,” he said.
“We have some 1.6 million care workers, it is bigger than the NHS, yet it is not as well recognised, poorly rewarded and with limited career structures.
“We do need to get a parity of esteem in the social care sector that matches with the NHS.”
Currently, the government allows local authorities to increase the precept on council tax rates in order to fund social care.
The county council has backed a 2% increase on the adult social care precept to fund the service for the next financial year.
But, Mr Garrod said the big issue was deciding how to fund the sector in the future.
He added that he felt it was something the government was “struggling with”.
“What we would like to see is a simpler system that gives a greater sense of equality across the country,” he said.
Mr Garrod added that the measure needs to balance both state and personal contributions to care costs.
The issue has led to county council leader, Martin Hill, to call for more “certainty” on future funding.
He said a “long term and sustainable solution” is needed from the government.
“We have found the savings that we have to and I would say that we have done it well,” he said.
“But I think we have come to the stage now where there needs to be a long term, sustainable solution to how the nation will pay for adult care.”
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