Directors warn against policy delays as Lewis takes over social care reins

Social care leaders have warned against delays to crucial policies after Liam Byrne’s departure from the Department of Health in last week’s government reshuffle.

Byrne’s promotion to minister of state at the Home Office, after just one year as care services minister, has removed an advocate for raising social care’s status and supporter of increased funding.

It comes with the implementation of the health and social care white paper and an adult social care funding review in their early stages, and the Options for Excellence workforce review making initial recommendations. The promised  director general for social care at the DH is still to be appointed.

Some key policies, including the national framework for continuing care, which were delayed last month because of the local elections, are likely to now face further delays.

Byrne’s replacement, Ivan Lewis, has a rich social care pedigree. The former Treasury and Department for Education and Skills minister was chief executive of social care charity the Manchester Jewish Federation and chair of Bury Council’s then social services committee.

Association of Directors of Social Services president Julie Jones said: “I hope no momentum will be lost. We can’t afford any delay on the comprehensive spending review work.”

But she said Lewis had already contacted the ADSS to arrange a meeting this week, and said he would come in with a “strong working knowledge of social care”.

The DH said policies “would not be put on hold indefinitely”.

Other government changes

  • Alan Johnson replaces Ruth Kelly as education secretary.
  • Parmjit Dhanda replaces Maria Eagle as junior children’s minister.
  • John Reid is the new home secretary, replacing Charles Clarke.
  • Ruth Kelly becomes secretary of state of a new Department for Communities and Local Government, which replaces the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.
  • Hilary Armstrong is the first cabinet-level minister for social exclusion, with responsibility for the issue moving from the ODPM to the Cabinet Office.
  • The Cabinet Office has taken over responsibility for the third sector from the Home Office.

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