An independent sector leader has called for large numbers of social work posts to be stripped out of local authorities to help deliver the government’s vision of more personalised care.
English Community Care Association chief executive Martin Green told Community Care that councils should not employ care managers to commission services for individuals given responsibility for their own care.
Instead, service users’ direct payments or individual budgets would be topped up so they could employ independent advisers to help them buy care.
Last year’s adult green paper proposed that care brokers or navigators should help people buy their own care, but the idea has not been developed.
Green said care managers were primarily responsible to their councils, rather than users, and tended only to use existing services rather than commission solutions to people’s needs.
Under his vision, councils would retain responsibility for strategically commissioning a social care market, assessing users and setting budgets for their care.
However, British Association of Social Workers chair Ray Jones said assessment was not a one-off process and councils would still require care managers to review people’s needs, potentially duplicating the work of independent brokers.
And, given Green’s criticisms of councils’ unimaginative commissioning, he added: “I don’t think the provider market, which Martin represents, is moving as far as it might in creating the flexibility of response disabled and older people need.”