Wednesday, 17 July 2019
Recent headline-grabbing news articles raise issues around funding and regulation in the social care sector. Steve Harris, Business Development Director at Reside Housing Association, considers the implications.
I was struck by two particular pieces of news in recent weeks. One was a report from the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services which highlighted that, without further funding promises, care services would need to begin being decommissioned this autumn.
We all know that there is a funding crisis in our sector, but this warning was particularly stark. £7.7 billion has been cut from social care budgets since 2010, and a further £700 million of cuts are planned for this year.
However, two-thirds of directors are not confident that these cuts can be delivered, as it is widely accepted there are not enough resources to meet statutory levels of minimum service. These issues can only really by addressed by policy change – but the promised Green Paper on social care funding has been postponed six times in the last 18 months.
The second piece of news that caught my attention was about something described as ‘a care law loophole’ by campaigners and MPs. It was making a link between unregulated, un-inspected housing (supported living) and instances of abuse. This report maintained that, if there was regulation in place, tenants would be protected.
But I do think the report missed the point, especially given that the recent scandal at Whorlton Hall took place in a CQC-registered and inspected service. Instances of abuse are more likely to be the result of poorly commissioned and managed services rather than lack of intervention by regulators.
And, of course, you can’t really guarantee well-commissioned, well-managed services when you look at the funding issues highlighted in the first piece of news…