The delivery of the government’s flagship Valuing People Now programme for people with learning disabilities will be put back to enable the new care services minister to re-examine it.
Speaking to Community Care at the National Children and Adult Services Conference, Phil Hope, who was appointed as minister of state for care services this month, said he wanted to do “a bit more work” on the delivery plan for Valuing People Now, which had been expected this autumn. He said it could be put back by two to three months, meaning it could be published in the New Year.
He said: “I think it needs more detail on the deliverable so that when it’s published people can see action.”
Valuing People Now was published for consultation last December, to “refresh” to agenda to improve the life chances of people with learning disabilities, originally set out in the 2001 Valuing People white paper. Proposals include transferring primary care trusts’ remaining social care commissioning responsibilities to councils by April 2009 and action to increase the number of people with learning disabilities in paid work.
Hope also confirmed that the national dementia strategy for England, due next month, would have funding attached to it, despite the impact of the current economic downturn on the public finances.
He also said that economic conditions would not affect next year’s green paper on adult social care funding, adding: “Whatever short-term changes there are in house values of the stock market, we are talking about a reform for the next 20 years.”
Green paper for spring
Hope said he was keen to publish the green paper next Spring, though admitted this was “ambitious”. He also reiterated the government’s commitment to building a cross-party consensus on reform, following accusations from shadow health minister Stephen O’Brien that the government had failed to invite the Conservatives into discussions on the issue.
“We need to build a societal-wide consensus on this. This is not a political football,” Hope added.
Responding to last week’s Community Care survey about social workers attitudes to personalisation, which found almost half of council practitioners thought it was not the right agenda for adult care, Hope said those who had greater experience of personalisation were more positive.
He added: “One thing we can do is engage those who have been through it with those who are yet to go through it.”