The Care Bill: the final chapter

Guest post by Megan Cleaver, Parliamentary Officer at Scope.

Today’s debate in Parliament on the Care Bill marks the final opportunity for MPs to make changes to reforms the Government claims will transform social care for older and disabled people and make the system fit for the 21st century.

We are looking out for a debate in Parliament on an amendment from Paul Burstow to ensure there is sufficient funding of the social care system. This has support from a broad coalition including the Care and Support Alliance, the Local Government Association, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, and Society of Local Authority Chief Executives.

This is an important statement as local authorities and charities can often appear at loggerheads over social care.

Because while the Care Bill has been broadly welcomed by both charities, care providers and local government who have applauded the Government for setting out their vision to create a preventative care system where older and disabled people will not just be supported to survive, but to live full and active lives in their communities, there are grave concerns about whether this bold vision can actually become a reality on the ground.

Cuts to local authority budgets of more than 20% since 2010 have had a devastating impact on social care provision. Indeed, just last week Age UK reported that over 800,000 older people were going without vital help due to the squeeze on social care funding.

To reverse this damaging trend, Paul Burstow’s amendment would require the Care and Support Reform Programme Board (which brings together senior figures from both local and central government responsible for commissioning and providing care services) to report annually to the Department of Health on whether they are satisfied that sufficient funding is in place to ensure that the reforms in the Bill i.e. creating a preventative care system with the well-being of care users at its heart- can be implemented.

In addition, the Programme Board would also review where the new “national eligibility threshold” for care has been set. This is hugely important as last June the Government stated its intention to set, and thereby fund, the threshold at a level where only those older and disabled people with ‘substantial’ needs will be able to get care. This will mean that hundreds of thousands of older and disabled people with ‘moderate’ needs will be denied the care they need to get washed, get dressed and get out of the house- the very essence of an individual’s well-being.

Without this reporting from the front line of social care, shortfalls in funding will likely continue leaving too many older and disabled people unable to benefit from the preventative care system they had been long promised.

Indeed, recognising that Labour’s vision for “whole person care” will not be achieved without the necessary investment, Shadow Care Minister Liz Kendall has also put her name to this amendment- making it a truly cross-party appeal to the Government to ensure “the most valuable legacy in health and care reform for a generation” can truly be achieved.

Because while the Government has claimed that the key to putting social care on sustainable footing is to ‘use the resources we currently have more efficiently’, there is significant evidence that it is  through properly investing in social care that is in fact the most efficient use of local authority budgets.

Join us on Twitter this afternoon for live Tweets from the report stage.

4 thoughts on “The Care Bill: the final chapter”

  1. And yet, Richard Hawkes and SCOPE’s ‘Transformation Team’ (now fondly referred to by relatives/carers and friends of SCOPE customers as the ‘Destruction Team), continue to try and convince 190 severely disabled people and their families that closing 8 of their care homes will enhance their lives out in the big wide world of ‘community living’. At this rate, we’ll be lucky if people even have carers to assist them out of bed each day. Hardly progress me thinks Mr Hawkes – wake up, tell the truth and stop lying to society’s most vulnerable and do the decent thing and invest in your residential services rather than abandon people to God only know what and if people want to move out into small community living, then they will still do this, wether or not you offer residential services, no-one is being handcuffed to a residential bed that I am aware of?

  2. On a similar note to above, I therefore find it amazing that you are continuing with closing your residential care homes. Our relatives in these homes do not need to suffer at the hands of this bill or your ‘transformation’. However they will needlessly suffer because of both if you are unwilling to accept that what you thought was a positive step froward for disabled people is not in reality as appropriate as you first thought. Please Scope, stop and think about what you have put above, and how this contradicts the logic you are using to try and justify these closures. You cannot pick and choose if communities are equiped or funded for disabled people depending on which of your ‘campaigns’ you are talking about at the time . There is no shame in admitting you have made a mistake, only in forcing vulnerable disabled people into a community which you know is not appropriate for with them. Stop trying to see yourselves as ‘liberationists’ and accept your well intentioned proposals actually wont work. PLEASE SCOPE , ITS NOT TO LATE TO STOP ALL THIS.

    1. Our work on the Care Bill and our proposals to close and change some of our services are both things we’re doing which support disabled people to live more independently in the community. It is well-evidenced across social care that people enjoy better outcomes when they have individual choice and control over how they are supported.

      We are committed to ensuring that disabled people have a high quality life and we would not make these proposals if we weren’t confident that we will be able to support people to work with their local authority to get the support they need.

      1. So how do you square your statement above….
        “Cuts to local authority budgets of more than 20% since 2010 have had a devastating impact on social care provision. Indeed, just last week Age UK reported that over 800,000 older people were going without vital help due to the squeeze on social care funding.”

        With your ideology….
        “It is well-evidenced across social care that people enjoy better outcomes when they have individual choice and control over how they are supported.”

        You are closing your residential homes that support older severely disabled people knowing that the reality on the ground means their standard of care will be worse than they currently experience.

        Scope is not living up to the ideals of its founders by absolving their responsibility of individuals they have provided a safe and caring environment for over many years.

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