Green paper on older people’s social care to be published by summer 2018

Government says it will “listen to the perspectives of experts and care users, to build consensus around reforms which can succeed”

Description_of_image_used_in_homecare_dementia_piece_care_worker_with_older_woman_WestEnd61_REX_Shutterstock
Photo: WestEnd61/REX/Shutterstock

The government will publish a green paper on social care for older people by summer 2018, it announced today.

In advance of the paper it has invited a number of people to provide advice, including representatives from social care and health organisations – such as Sir David Behan, chief executive of the Care Quality Commission – as well as from the financial industry. Among these are Nigel Wilson, chief executive of Legal and General, the insurance and life cover group.

Also invited is Sir Andrew Dilnot, the former chair of the Commission on the Funding of Care and Support. It reported in 2011 and its recommendation to introduce a lifetime cap on care costs was put into law through the Care Act 2014 but has not yet been implemented.

However, there are no representatives from social care professional bodies or service user groups on the list of invitees, although the government said it would “work with independent experts, stakeholders and users to shape the long-term reforms that will be proposed in the green paper”.

Damian Green, the First Secretary of State and minister for the Cabinet Office, said: “An ageing population needs a long-term solution for care, but building a sustainable support system will require some big decisions.

‘Build consensus’

“In developing the green paper, it is right that we take the time needed to debate the many complex issues and listen to the perspectives of experts and care users, to build consensus around reforms which can succeed.”

The green paper will be subject to a full public consultation after it is published in summer 2018.

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said it was “reassured” that the government was “setting out its commitment to address the social care crisis so that real action can begin”.

He added: “The [2017 general] election showed that the public are hungry for social care reform, but with the paper not expected until summer, they will have had another year of waiting. If there has been no true progress by then we, and people with dementia, will be asking big questions of the government.”

Working-age adults

Margaret Willcox, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), also welcomed news of the green paper, saying: “It is right that all members of society, many of whom are likely to need some form of care in their lives, will have a say on the future funding of care and delivery of care services.

“We are also encouraged that the Government will undertake a parallel programme of work focusing on issues for working-age adults, as financial pressures due to the increasing care needs of younger adults with disabilities or mental health problems are now greater than those due to supporting older people, which our Budget survey highlighted this year.

“This Paper presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to reform adult social care for everyone who needs it and to address the issue of funding after 2020 when the extra £2 billion for social care runs out.”

Dr Anna Dixon, chief executive of the Centre for Ageing Better, welcomed the government’s plans to consult with care users ahead of the publication of the green paper.

She said: “As the Government have recognised in their announcement today, we need a long-term sustainable funding solution for adult social care that means everyone has good access to good quality social care when they need it. Action also needs to be taken now, including increased funding for social care in the autumn budget.”

6 Responses to Green paper on older people’s social care to be published by summer 2018

  1. Austin Thornton November 17, 2017 at 1:57 pm #

    There is likely only one agenda here – how do we bring in more private money to pay for care.

    The methods to be considered may be private insurance, a tax on estates, a charge against residential property for all care.

    We already have significant privatisation in pensions, education, housing and social care.

    Charging property will prejudice the ability of the children of home owners to use inheritance to meet their own housing and pension needs which have already been substantially privatised.

    We have seen actual privaitsaitons of necessary utilities become useful sources of cash for foreign owners.

    There must be a limit to which the privatisation of life costs can go without significantly increasing people’s wages. Yet notwithstanding inflation, the downward pressure on wages looks set to continue.

    Therefore the chances of this review solving the care funding crisis seem slim.

    • Hazel Seidel November 18, 2017 at 12:43 am #

      Not necessarily. An alternative solution would be to improve universal provision of care to all who need it, and to fund it through the tax system, on the same basis we fund the NHS – i.e. we tax on the basis of ability to pay, and we provide on the basis of need, rather than by expecting those in need to do the paying. The nettle has however to be grasped by some government or other – more funding is needed.

  2. A Man Called Horse November 17, 2017 at 2:19 pm #

    I’m afraid the Tories will do what they are very good at, looking like they are doing something while actually doing nothing. This is just to difficult for them, so they kick the can down the road into the long grass. They have had Royal Commissions and years of reports with social care still in a bad place. I have absolutely no faith that anything will have changed one year from now.

  3. Karolina Gerlich November 19, 2017 at 5:04 pm #

    The National Association of Carers and Support Workers (NACAS) believes that there is a huge amount of work to be done in social care, to improve care that we provide. There has been a lot of talk on the media about the Green Paper coming out next year. As the only independent representative of care and support workers, we have been invited by the government to consult on it. We see this as an opportunity to ensure that changes will improve care delivery as we care deeply about people we work with. NACAS will also ensure that future policy changes will recognise the importance of the work that we do, reinforce the value of training and improve working conditions.
    We would like to invite carers and support workers to become members and get involved so we can champion your views in the review.
    Please visit our website at http://www.nacas.org.uk

  4. Ben's dog November 20, 2017 at 1:08 pm #

    The link between home ownership and care costs makes this a political ‘hot potato’ as commenter above points out. Andrew Dilnot is right in saying that the free market system in social care has been a failure, as we have seen in many other examples. In this case the state needs to intervene to sort things out before the system collapses. And very likely we all need to accept the need to pay higher contributions towards our care in later life.

  5. Terry McClatchey November 20, 2017 at 10:52 pm #

    Unfortunately “kicking the can down the road” has been a cross-party strategy of choice. The Royal Commission was promised by Labour in opposition and delivered in 1999. Since then we have had Labour, Conservative and coalition governments plus a major reset with the Dilnot report and new primary legislation. All governments have avoided making the difficult choices and each party in opposition has elected to undermine any serious effort on behalf of those in government in each period. A weak government and partisan opposition do not create fertile territory for solving complex problems.