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In response to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee report ‘Reforming adult social care in England’, Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, has said:

“The recommendations in the report are ambitious and essential in equal measure. But this type of aspiration is what we need to reform the social care system and ensure our sector is fit for the future. All the evidence points to a sector that needs cross-party commitment to long-term planning. The recommendations are a damming picture of the current state of care. Now, it is incumbent on the Department of Health and Social Care to act. In the year of a general election, neglecting social care means neglecting the millions that live and work in the sector.”

The Public Accounts Committee report analyses the funding and delivery structures for adult social care and the progress made in delivering adult social care reforms. This follows the Government’s promise to “fix social care” in 2019, backed by a 10-year vision for adult social care reform in December of that year, followed by subsequent reform measures.

The report sets out a series of recommendations for the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

The Committee recommends that the DHSC assess if they are achieving value for money from the additional funding going into adult social care. This ask comes as Care England and Hft in our 2023 Sector Pulse Check report found that “84% of care providers said that government funding measures, such as Market Sustainability Improvement Fund, had had ‘no impact’ on their financial sustainability in 2023.”

The Committee also recommends that the DHSC look at what it can do to give Local Authorities greater certainty over funding and allow them to plan for the longer term. As the County Councils Network found this week, councils spend two-thirds of their budget on care services. Both commissioners and care providers would benefit if the Government moved away from short-term, sporadic Government funding measures, and towards a long-term, sustained settlement. Rather than permitting care providers to address financial and workforce challenges root and branch, the Government delivers only temporary relief, with funding often conditional and difficult for care providers to access. It is clear that under the current structure and funding system, additional interventions are not having the desired effect.

Furthermore, the Committee recommends the DHSC set out how it will identify and address workforce challenges in the absence of an NHS-style workforce plan. Care England supports this recommendation having previously called for a commitment from the Government to assist the sector in improving pay, rewards, terms and conditions.

Professor Martin Green OBE continues:

“What the system needs is long-term, sustained root and branch reform and for the Government to be held to account with measurable targets. It’s about time we stop letting the government get away with marking its own homework. This month’s Spring Budget made it clear adult social care is not high on the Government’s agenda. Well, the gauntlet has been thrown by this report. We need accountability and responsibility to rise to the challenge.”