Adult social care and primary health should be commissioned from a single pot of money by local government-led partnerships, a leading councillor said today.
David Rogers, chair of the Local Government Association’s community well-being board, told the National Social Services Conference in Birmingham said this would secure an “intelligent and efficient relationship between social care and health”.
He said local area agreements, under which council-led partnerships agree targets with government in return for the freedom to pool resources, should be the model adopted to integrate health and social care in the forthcoming white paper.
Rogers said: “Local area agreements could be used to put the non-acute elements of primary care commissioning and social care commissioning funds into a single place, getting the services that will deliver on our main objectives.”
This should be backed up by a duty to co-operate on public bodies to promote the well-being of adults – similar to the duty in the Children Act 2004 – and integrated inspection regimes for health and social care.
However, he warned that social care still faced the danger of marginalisation in both children’s and adult services, with Ofsted set to take over the inspection of social care and the government’s continuing emphasis on the NHS.
But he said social care leaders should not “[shout] loudly from the sidelines” but demonstrate their “effectiveness, flexibility and responsiveness” to change perceptions in government.