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Council fears over ability to meet statutory duty on adult care market stability

More than three quarters (78%) of councils responsible for adult social care are concerned about their ability to meet the statutory duty to ensure care market stability, the annual budget survey by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) has found.

The survey also found that:

  • Adult social care now makes up 38% of total councils budgets, a continuing increase;
  • 48 councils had experienced providers closing or ceasing to trade in the last six months;
  • 44 councils have had contracts handed back by providers unable to meet them, affecting 2,679 people in care;
  • Three quarters of councils believe that providers will experience financial difficulties over the next year, with two thirds concerned that those pressures could impact on the quality of care over that period;
  • 92% of councils surveyed who increased their precepts to cover social care costs said they were doing so just to keep pace with demographic pressures 

ADASS said that “despite a welcome injection of short-term funding into the sector, adult social care across the country face care market failures, reduced investment in prevention, and the knock-on effects from NHS pressures - such as an increased focus on people delayed in hospital, and a reduction in NHS spend on continuing health care”.

The Association described the state of the social care system as “fragile” and highlighted the importance of investing in social care.

It warned that the need for both short and long-term funding was urgent, and that without it, there would be fewer older and disabled people receiving support.

ADASS called on the Government to:

  • “Make sure that short-term protected funding to shore up social care continues so that emergency need can be met until the Green Paper is implemented;
  • Find a way to deliver long-term, adequate funding in the upcoming green paper that enables meeting people’s needs effectively is a reality, not an aspiration;
  • Help councils support the care market and value the skilled staff that works within it, and putting providers on a firm financial footing.”

ADASS also warned about low pay in the sector, saying it was no surprise that directors had highlighted being able to increase salaries as the most important factor in recruitment and retention.

Glen Garrod, President of ADASS, said: “As the voice of social care across the country, ADASS is determined that the upcoming green paper delivers the change that the people we care for, and our skilled and dedicated workforce, are crying out for.

“Social care is essentially about making sure we not only look after people with profound and increasingly complex needs, but also help many transform their lives. Sadly, however, this budget survey reveals, once again this essential care and support is just not being given the resources it needs.

“It is of serious concern that we have such a fragile social care market, where 48 councils across the country have seen care providers close or cease to trade in the last six months – this means that people do not have the choice over the care that they should have and the potential to transform lives is being lost. It’s also worrying that despite social care’s contributions to reducing pressures on hospitals, NHS pressures continue to have serious impacts on the provision of social care.”

Garrod added: “There is an undeniable, urgent and imperative requirement on the Government to act to ensure interim funding continues until the green paper is implemented, that the social care workforces receives the wages and esteem it deserves, that the care market is safeguarded, and that the long-term funding solution that social care desperately needs is finally delivered.

“We cannot go on like this. How we help people live the life they want, how we care and support people in our families and communities, and how we ensure carers get the support they need is at stake – it’s time for us to deliver the secure future that so very many people in need of social care urgently need.”


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