The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services’ annual survey has revealed the extent of cuts to social care services over the last few years, issuing a stark warning that they will be ‘unsustainable’ if current pressures continue. 

Since 2010, local authorities have made cuts of 26% to their social care budgets and despite additional funding from central Government, expect further cuts to follow.  Local authorities are facing a perfect storm of circumstances – increasing demand for support, a fall in public spending and additional pressures as a result of implementing the new reforms in the Care Act.

Despite the excellent intentions behind the new Care Act, it seems that there is a real mismatch between what the Government wants to happen and the reality that local authorities are facing.  As ADASS’ survey found, nearly half of all directors questioned thought that fewer people would be able to get care services.  The survey also revealed that demand for support has increased by 14% over the last four years, suggesting that there are significant numbers of people who are being left without care and support.

While the Government has already promised to divert extra money from the NHS to adult social care through the Better Care Fund, evidence suggests that many local authorities are having to use the funds to protect current services.  The intention behind the Better Care Fund is to promote better integration between health and social care services – which is much needed – but clearly will be very difficult to achieve under current circumstances.

As the Coalition Government heads into its final year and all parties turn their attention towards the 2015 general election, we want to see them place social care high up the political agenda.  The Care Act shows just what can be achieved with cross party support but unless action is taken to resolve the care funding crisis, its aspirations and aims will be lost.  Over the coming months, we will be working closely with the Care and Support Alliance to make sure that social care becomes a financial priority, not just a political one.  If you want campaign with us, you can send an email to your MP explaining why social care is important to you.

Rachel Bowen, Campaigns Officer