As a core member of the Care & Support Alliance - which campaigns to keep adult care funding and reform on the political agenda - it has been a busy week for us.

On Sunday, specially commissioned by the Care & Support Alliance, a YouGov survey asked 4,500 people in England their attitude towards social care ahead of the government returning from their annual summer recess. The survey found that:

  • Six in 10 people are not confident they will receive sufficient care; a figure that goes up to seven in 10 for over those over 60
  • Together with health services, support for elderly and disabled people is the electorate’s biggest priority for increased Government expenditure
  • One in three in England rely on, or have a close family member that relies on, the care system.

United Response Interim Chief Executive Shan Nicolas said of the findings:

“The clear “vote of no confidence” issued in the Care & Support Alliance survey displays that the public are waking up to the reality of the social care crisis. Local Authority budgets are being squeezed down to providing a level of care that is at best just “sufficient”. However, United Response firmly believes that meaningful social care should be far more than just the bare minimum – it is about respecting dignity and providing choice. Ultimately, the care we provide to the most vulnerable sends a clear message about our priorities as a society. We need to get those priorities right.”

As our politicians returned to parliament they were also presented with two long awaited reports clearly defining the problems with the current social care system and the radical improvements that are required to make it effective for the future.

First, the Commission on Residential Care (CORC) published its final report on Wednesday 3rd September, which sets out a bold vision to change residential care to “housing with care” which it describes as being “not bound by existing definitions but based on the outcomes that people want and value”. United Response has always believed that truly “person centred support” – which we strive to provide – is all about developing support around each individual to help them achieve the outcomes that they want in their life. We therefore particularly welcome the developed concept of personalisation within the report and the recognition that a personal approach does not – and should not – be constrained by arbitrary definitions of support provision.

Second, the much anticipated Barker Commission on the Future of Health and Social Care in England was issued on Thursday. It proposes a new approach to redesign care to provide a simpler pathway for individuals and carers with a new care and support allowance for people with low to moderate needs. The commission concludes that “this vision for a health and care system fit for the 21st century is affordable and sustainable if a phased approach is taken and hard choices are taken about taxation”. 

What happens next?

The good news is that social care – and, crucially, its funding – is now firmly on the public policy agenda. And if we all work together, we can continue to keep it there.

So, you can get involved by:

Supporting our Every Vote Counts campaign which aims to make sure that everyone who is eligible to vote understands that they can do so – and the impact that this could have. The general election is just 8 months away so get started today by downloading our Every Vote Count Election Planner and signing up to the Every Vote Counts Newsletter.

Contact your MP to let them know how important funding for social care is for you as their constituent. If you don’t know who your local MP is you can find out on the They Work For You website.

There is now clear evidence that fundamental change needs to happen within the social care system. It is time for all political parties to join together and gain common consensus on how to create a fully funded social care system that delivers meaningful person centered care for every adult now and into the future.

Xanthe Breen, senior press officer.