The Care Bill returns to the House of Lords tomorrow.
Social care has been a major focus of Scope’s collaborative campaigning work in the past year because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reform a care system in crisis.
We know that thousands of disabled people are struggling to get the support they need to live independently, without access to basic care to help them eat, wash properly and leave their homes.
Now 83% of councils have set the threshold for care at a higher level and they expect things to get worse.
We have tried to be as vocal as possible on the issues we know that disabled people care most about – changes to Disability Living Allowance, the impact of the cuts, the flawed Work Capability Assessment, support for disabled children, attitudes to disability – to create public pressure and hold the Government to account.
With the Care Bill back in the Lords, social care is back on the agenda. We have been working closely with disabled people, disabled people’s organisations and the Care and Support Alliance, a coalition of over 70 organisations, to make sure that the system supports those who need it.
The good news is that politicians are starting to listen to us.
In the summer, the Chancellor found £3.8bn in June’s spending review to start to tackle the crisis. When nearly everything else was being cut, social care was one of the only areas to benefit from additional funding.
We have been campaigning hard so that those who need it most have access to an independent advocate. Again, the Government has listened to and acted on these concerns.
Other welcome changes to the Care Bill include the requirement that assessments must be carried out by people with specialist expertise in certain circumstances, and that councils must take on board the importance of promoting well-being when commissioning services.
We have all fought hard for these wins.
It has been an incredibly difficult climate for charities of all kinds to campaign effectively – not just disabled organisations, but all those affected by cuts.
We still have a long way to go on the Care Bill. But the wins above show how powerful it can be when disabled people and organisations large and small come together to get behind focused campaigns, which will result in real, tangible change.
But we know that the more people there are campaigning, and the bigger range of voices, the more likely we are to achieve change.
It doesn’t just have to be big charities – it can be people like Angela, whose one-woman Save Social Care petition has been supported by nearly 50,000 people and led her to Downing Street. Or the WOW Petition campaign challenging welfare reform which has been backed by over 60,000 people. It’s about the power of our combined impact.
There are many experienced, talented and innovative people out there, who we know we can learn from – and who don’t necessarily agree with us on everything.
That’s why we recently launched the Game Changers community, to crowd source the best ideas for our ambitious next campaign. We want to hear people’s views and be challenged constructively.
So come add your voice and let’s get the much bigger change we all want – together.