Social care has “lost the road map” for reforming adult social care funding following the election of a hung parliament with the Conservatives as the biggest party.
That was the message from Association of Directors of Adult Social Services president Richard Jones, following an election result that left no party with an overall majority but effectively gave the Conservatives the first opportunity to form a government.
The Conservatives did not sign up to Labour’s adult care White Paper, published on the eve of the election. The paper outlined a plan to introduce a national care service, with services free at the point of need, but with a decision on how this should be funded referred to an independent commission.
Jones said: “What we have in the White Paper is a detailed road map [for reform]. There were three phases laid out there; if we don’t have Labour in government you have to assume we lose the detailed map for how we do that.”
Negotiations are under way as to who will form the next government, with the Conservatives offering the Liberal Democrats a deal that may lead to a coalition government.
While rejecting parts of the White Paper, the Lib Dems also backed forming a independent commissionon funding reform, but the idea is opposed by the Conservatives.
Jones said he suspected social care would be at the forefront of the negotiations and said a lot more work needed to be done to build a consensus on social care funding once a government was formed.
He added that the next government needed to be strong enough to take tough decisions over social care funding reform in a tough economic climate. He said it would not be advantageous for the sector to have care ministers who were anticipating another election soon.