Hertfordshire speaks out in the debate on funding for social care

Published: 18 Sep 2018

Iain MacBeath, Hertfordshire County Council’s Director of Adult Care Services recently addressed a closed session of the Lords Economic Affairs Committee on the funding challenges for social care.

Iain, who is also Resources Policy Lead for the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), gave an authoritative briefing addressing the questions ‘What are the funding challenges for social care, and how can they be overcome?’ to the committee on 4 September.

On 13 September, the committee announced its inquiry into social care funding in England.

Drawing on the ADASS budget survey results for 2018, Iain’s presentation confirmed that the short-term injections of grant funding from Government and the ability to levy a council tax precept have prevented a crisis for 2017/18.

However, he highlighted that many previous budget survey warnings have been realised.  Among these is the end of short-term grants and the exhausted ability to levy more council tax in the coming year, which together, leave a potentially catastrophic gap in finances prior to the next spending review.

Iain said: “ADASS advocates a greater pooling of risk across society and believes that the state should extend its role in securing sufficient resources.

“On overcoming the funding challenges for social care, most experts now agree that there is little more efficiency to be extracted from independent care providers, which leaves managing demand and reducing long-term care. Approaches to this include involving more support from sources outside councils and short-term interventions in partnership with the NHS, but a plateau has been reached in this latter area due to increasing ageing population.”

He also outlined other modes of care delivery such as Community Interest Companies, Co-operatives and innovative housing models for different groups being trialled by different councils.

On charging for services, Iain reported that income received from people in their own home had increased by 36 per cent in the last three years, but qualified this by adding: “Most local authorities are at the maximum of what the law will allow.”

On the upcoming Government Green Paper on Adult Social Care, due out this autumn, Iain commented: “ADASS and the wider sector need to clearly spell out the need for additional funds for our radically changing population but also look to reform where that is necessary.

“People who use our services and their family carers still have to tell their story to health and care professionals too many times and are passed between the two systems – we can do more to join things up for them.”