The president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services has rejected the case for councils losing control of adult social care funding.
The idea was mooted in a document published to launch the government’s six-month consultation on the future of adult social care funding, as a way of tackling inequalities in access to services around the country.
Specifically, the Department of Health is believed to be considering whether to fund adult social care through the benefits system, under the auspices of the Department for Work and Pensions.
Starting from wrong end
However, Adass president John Dixon said: “What we believe is that above all people need good support and advice in order to make decisions about care. Simply having a benefit would not give them that and their money would be wasted. It’s starting from the wrong end.”
He also cited the Thatcher government’s decision to transfer the then Department for Health and Social Security’s responsibilities for funding private nursing and residential home placements through the benefits system to local government, due to soaring costs.
He added: “I don’t suspect the Treasury is going to be interested in anything that’s going to have that effect.”
Dixon (pictured left) also said he thought Derek Wanless’s proposals for the state to fund over 80% of the personal care costs of all care users was likely to prove unaffordable. However, Dixon said the DH was interested in aspects of the partnership model, proposed in Wanless’s landmark 2006 report for the King’s Fund.
Instead, he predicted that any universal service proposed in the green paper, expected next year, would cover “high-quality” advice, information, assessments and safeguarding – but not direct care costs.