SCIE media statement

Research confirms need for improved information on care and support options

Putting People First consortium

18 Janary 2011

New research, commissioned on behalf of councils, has highlighted the growing significance of people paying for their own care and support (‘self-funders’) and underlined the importance of people getting the right information and advice when it comes to understanding and considering their options.

The two linked reports from the Institute for Public Policy at Oxford Brookes University and Melanie Henwood Associates suggest that people who pay for their own care are not guaranteed greater choice and control unless they are properly advised, but it is also clear that many people do not wish to approach councils to get that advice. Therefore, comprehensive and consistent information about care and support options available to people needs to be provided in different formats and from different organisations.

The report also highlights that people who currently pay for their own care face the prospect of seeking state-funded support if their money runs out because they outlive their savings, the cost of care increases or the value of their investments or assets decrease.

An estimated 170,000 older people currently pay for residential care in England. The privately-funded care home market for older people in England is estimated to be worth almost £5 billion, while the home care market is worth £652 million.

The research was commissioned by the Putting People First consortium and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) as a way of demonstrating the challenges faced by the sector as they work to transform adult social care for all people, including those who fund themselves…

National Director for Social Care Transformation Jeff Jerome said:

Councils will welcome this fresh perspective and acknowledge that a wider approach needs to be taken in helping people make decisions about their support. At a time of more restricted public finance this is a timely reminder for them and their local partners of the need to provide the right sort of information for all sections of their local community, possibly through third party or independent organisations. This must include help for older people to manage their money better. The Putting People First Consortium is continuing to explore avenues for better nationally available information and to offer support around local delivery arrangements.

David Walden, SCIE’s Director of Adult Services, commented:

The new cross-sector partnership agreement “Think Local, Act Personal” reinforces the need for local leaders to ensure that everyone in their area can have access to good public information, including assured financial advice and advice on how to choose services. This research shows that commitment is needed to act on giving the right information and advice.

Media contact

Steve Palmer | Press and Public Affairs Manager | Tel: 020 7766 7419 | Mob: 07739 458 192 | Email: media@scie.org.uk

Notes

Estimating the number and distribution of self-funders of care in England – a quantitative study from the Institute of Public Care at Oxford Brookes University; and Journeys without maps: The decisions and destinations of people who self-fund – a qualitative study from Melanie Henwood Associates are available from  www.puttingpeoplefirst.org.uk. The reports estimate the numbers of older people who pay for registered social care; explore future trends in self-funding; tracks people’s “journeys” through care and explores the how, why and consequences of decisions people make.

The Putting People First consortium is ADASS and the Local Government Group working with the Department of Health and others to transform adult social care. The Putting People First programme is coming to an end in March 2011 and a new partnership agreement Think Local, Act Personal is currently being finalised.