The crisis facing adult social care has been recognised by all political parties and the Prime Minister has committed to addressing this in the longer term. In response, the Government has provided extra resources to adult social care through the Improved Better Care Fund, the adult social care precept and two one-off adult social care grants. In total, these amount to an extra £2.3 billion in 2017/18, £1.0 billion in 2018/19 and £0.35 billion in 2019/20. These much needed resources enabled many councils to avoid what would have been a tipping point in the provision of social care, enabled them to significantly reduce the numbers of people being delayed in hospital and, nationally, to balance budgets and avoid adult social care being the source of further reductions in council reserves. Investing in social care brings positive results.
As the scale of continuing cuts demonstrate, however, together with the fragile state of the care market, there is not yet a sustainable, long-term solution to the funding of adult social care, and this report provides valuable evidence of the need for this to be put in place as soon as possible. There is a particular issue about the next financial year when the increase in the resources is much smaller than in either of the previous two years. There is a real danger that some councils could be unable to meet statutory duties before any solution from the Government’s reviews can be put in place.
The results of the annual ADASS Budget Survey explore directors of adult social services’ views of how councils are making incredibly difficult decisions in relation to the growing numbers of people requiring care and support with increasingly complex needs and with higher costs, where funding simply isn’t keeping pace. Reduction in delayed transfers of care has been a priority, and the fact that adult social care has accomplished such reductions in the last year, following the injection of short-term funding, demonstrates that investing in adult social care gets results.
The survey data clearly sets out the concerns of councils in making increasingly difficult choices and their attempts to minimise the impact on people made vulnerable by their circumstances, with care and support needs, and their carers. The survey highlights how social care funding directly affects the lives and life chances of people needing care and support and their families, the workforce, care providers and the NHS. It is therefore of great value to, and widely used by, others in the field of public policy in general and adult social care in particular.