Conclusion for new ideas on the future of social care reform

Beyond COVID-19

Now is the time for bold action to transform social care for decades to come. After nearly 20 years of underfunding it is time to call time on austerity. The adult social care system needs a long-term funding settlement; one that is simpler, fairer and helps tackle the fundamental inequalities which exist in society.

However, more funding alone will not be enough. Mirroring what has happened in the NHS – which now has a long-term plan – we need an ambitious reform plan which is fit for the future. We must commit to a progressive new vision for adult social care which clearly articulates the vital role social care plays in society – of a more preventative, asset-based, accessible, co-produced and joined-up system of care and support. This vision should be accompanied by a clear timetabled roadmap setting out how this vision will be realised. As much as possible, this roadmap should be co-produced with the sector, and those with lived experience, so that it reflects the aspirations and ideas which reside in communities.

More of the same just won’t do.

Sally Warren, Director of Policy, The King’s Fund

There was almost universal agreement that now is the time for bold and far-reaching change to adult social care, not simply tinkering with the status quo.

We need an industrial-level intervention.

James Bullion, President, Association of Directors of Adult Social Care (ADASS)

Moreover, this plan for adult social care should clearly set out how we learn the lessons from COVID-19. Never again can the sector be left so unprepared and exposed to a pandemic like this. We hope the Social Care Sector COVID-19 Support Taskforce, working in tandem with those drafting the long-term plan, come up with robust proposals for avoiding a future crisis. In doing this they should definitely focus hard on the areas of failure and risk, but consider also the many good things that happen in communities and build on these.

The challenges we face are of such magnitude and the vision we want so far reaching, that wide-ranging action is necessary.

Drawing on a broad range or sources of insight, including the essays and roundtable, but also our work on COVID-19 and innovation, we have identified three strategic shifts which are required, and 21 recommendations for short- and medium-term action.

We call on the Government to consider these proposals as it develops its thinking on the long-term plan for social care.

New thinking on the future of adult social care
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