Ministers were urged today to close the resource gap for adult social care today in order to secure financial security and dignity for current and future service users.
Association of Directors of Adult Social Services president Peter Hay said councils could only do so much to ensure the social care system improved outcomes for service users with inadequate resources.
In a speech to the National Children and Adult Services Conference, he said: “There are plenty of arguments about the size of the [funding] gap, but no one denies its existence. As the government pulls together its responses on funding care to accompany next spring’s White Paper, it will need to address that gap and determine its priorities for investment within this sector.”
He also said plans to further integration between health and social care through the coalition’s NHS reforms would be “fatally flawed” without a “modern resource base”.
Hay added that councils were successfully reforming care, including by making progress towards the government’s target of having all service users on personal budgets by 2013. But he argued that this was insufficient without adequate resources.
Hay also called for greater transparency on both quality standards and finances from social care providers in the light of the Winterbourne View and Southern Cross scandals.
“We would all do well to remember that where secrecy thrives, the abuse of power against vulnerable people is made,” he said.
“A simple customer test is that secrecy is bad news in any care setting, public private or not-for-profit,” he said. “For me, if I were buying care where there isn’t openness about tax or ownership or quality standards – then I would conclude that the business possibly isn’t based on the right values.”
Hay’s speech followed care services minister Paul Burstow’s address to the NCAS conference yesterday, in which he laid down several challenges to councils, including to improve efficiency and accelerate the roll-out of personalisation.
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