Tag Archives: Britain Cares

It’s time to speak out for care…literally

When I worked for a Member of Parliament one of the first tasks every morning was to struggle through the bulging post bag. That was before I even considered opening up the email inbox to see the hundreds of new emails that had flooded in since the day before. As well as the letters and emails from constituents, we would hear from organisations, all trying to get the attention of the MP on different issues or causes.

To get their attention you’ve got to try something a bit different

We’ve tried some innovative actions as part of our Britain Cares campaign. Last year we sent MPs over 1,000 individual photos of constituents showing how much they cared about social care. We followed it up by asking people to speak out for care and delivered over 400 speech bubbles to Parliament.

Social care is so important to so many disabled people across the UK. It’s the vital support that helps them live their lives in the way they want to. It’s help with getting up and dressed in the morning, preparing and cooking a meal or getting out of the house.

With the final debate in Parliament on the future of social care only weeks away we knew it was more important than ever to grab MPs attention.

This time we went one step further – we asked people to literally speak out for care. We took their messages, in their own voices, to their MPs.

The messages

Here’s some examples of the great messages we sent to MPs:

It was simple too. We recorded short messages on to small audio modules that we stuck into big cards and sent them on to Parliament. The video below shows how we did it:

When MPs opened up the mail the morning after we dropped off our audio cards, they received something a bit different, something that stands out from other letters. They heard from one of their own constituents. They heard why social care is so important and the opportunity that Care Bill is to make sure that everyone who needs care gets it.

With the 2014 Budget due next week, the CSA is uniting to put pressure on the Chancellor to invest in social care. To take part, sign up for the CSA thunderclap, asking George Osborne to take action and invest in care.

Our top Twitter and Facebook moments of 2013

As we get ready to bring in the New Year we’ve been looking back at what we achieved with your support in 2013. Here are some of the top Twitter and Facebook moments from 2013 that got you liking, commenting and retweeting.

Celebrating achievements

Jack Caroll - text reads: Good luck Jack!

Two of our most popular Facebook posts were about the achievements of two young people with Cerebral Palsy. 14-year-old Jack Carroll hit the headlines in May when he came second in the final of Britain’s Got Talent with his comedy. Our good luck message on Facebook got over 2,000 likes.

In November we shared the news that seven-year-old Holly had been chosen to model in a new campaign for Boden clothing. Holly and her great achievement received over 1,200 likes.

Campaigning and influencing the Government

When MPs started debating the Children and Families Bill in February we wanted to make sure disabled children were not forgotten by Michael Gove, the Secretary for Education. Almost 200 people joined our Thunderclap and thousands of you used the hashtag on Twitter #GoveUsABreak which helped get the message to over 4 million Twitter accounts!

More recently, many of you shared stories of how your child had been excluded from activities in your local area on Facebook. Read the latest news on the Bill from the Council For Disabled Children.

Woman with post-it on mouth which reads: I care

We’ve also been campaigning about social care this year. Our Britain Cares campaign asked people to send in a photo to show that they care about social care for disabled people. Thousands of you have sent in photos, shared the campaign on Facebook and Twitter, and our YouTube video has now had over 180,000 views.

In October, with the Care Bill going through Parliament, we joined with other charities in the Care and Support Alliance to ask “What do you do with yours?” and raise awareness for the importance of social care.

Challenging attitudes towards disabled people

The #HeardWhilstDisabled hashtag is used to share some of the things said to, or overheard by, disabled people. BBC Ouch wrote an excellent story about the hashtag with some of the worst examples such as “Isn’t it lovely to see them out and about?”.

This tweet was sent following the Panorama expose on the Work Programme. Panorama reported that disabled people were referred to as LTBs – lying, thieving bastards. We spoke out about how completely unacceptable this was. Read our full response to Panorama.

In February we were outraged when Councillor Collin Brewer said that “disabled children cost the council too much money and should be put down.” Hundreds of you shared the news, commented on the story and were pleased when we shared the news of his resignation shortly afterwards.

Raising awareness

We’ve also been using Facebook and Twitter to increase awareness for impairments and conditions such as Down Syndrome, Autism and Cerebral Palsy.

For World Down Syndrome Day in March our post sharing Sarah and Phillip’s story on Facebook reached nearly 35,500 people.

For World Autism Awareness day in April we shared a post from Ambitious about Autism asking people to share what ‘Autism is’ to them. Thanks to the support of Keith Duffy, we potentially reached almost 300,000 people on Twitter. 

And for World Cerebral Palsy Day in October we asked you what you thought everyone should know about Cerebral Palsy and summarised your responses in a blog which has been read over 7,000 times.

Thank you for all your support in 2013. If you don’t already you can follow us on Twitter, subscribe to us on YouTube and like us on Facebook.

Speaking out for Care – The second reading

Guest post by Ben Parker, Parliamentary Assistant at Scope.

Monday marked a significant day as the Care Bill entered the House of Commons to be debated by MPs for the first time. With the Government choosing to have the Second Reading in the last week of Parliamentary business before the Christmas Recess, and falling the day after Nelson Mandela’s funeral, there were understandable concerns that the Bill wouldn’t receive the political attention it deserved.

For disabled people the Bill has huge importance. It marks the first move towards building a preventative and sustainable social care system after years of political neglect and chronic underfunding.

The opening exchanges between Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt and Shadow Secretary Andy Burnham were fiery; a reminder of the political tensions between the two parties before the last election and fuelled by strong feelings on either side of the Chamber around the Care Bill. Speaker John Bercow was forced to interject at length in an attempt to maintain order as Hunt and opposition backbenchers traded verbal blows.

It was disappointing that the Secretary of State’s opening remarks failed to recognise disabled people’s role in the debate. Instead he focused on the NHS, the bolstering of the role of the Care Quality Commission in safeguarding health services and in particular, the administration of enforced service changes at Lewisham Hospital.

But there was also encouragement – Scope’s Britain Cares campaign has focused on addressing the eligibility threshold for social care and ensuring that all disabled people who need access to the care system to live independently can do so. Without this, the Government’s welcome ambitions for the Care Bill risk not being realised. The media also picked up on the story, with Sky News yesterday highlighting eligibility with the powerful real-terms implications for disabled people going without care.

This campaigning has had evident impact. Several backbenchers including David Ward (Lib Dem – Bradford East) and Anne McGuire (Labour – Stirling) chose to focus on this issue, McGuire arguing that if “social care is to mean anything to the lives of the disabled, it should be underpinned by a real recognition of the importance of an independent life.”

John McDonnell (Labour – Hayes and Harlington), Emma Lewell-Buck (Labour – South Shields) and Bill Esterson (Labour – Sefton Central) took the opportunity to highlight the statistics published by the Personal Social Services Unit at the London School of Economics, emphasising that the Government spending on social care has not kept pace with demographic change. McDonnell summarised: “those with moderate needs, which are still significant and should be within the system, are being ignored completely. We need to address this matter with some seriousness now and try to reach some all-party agreement on the way forward.”

The former Communities and Local Government Minister Hazel Blears outlined that failing to address eligibility had implications for the ambition of a preventative care system. “If we are talking about the well-being duty and the duty to prevent, reduce and delay somebody’s need for care, how can we say that we are going to support only people with substantial and critical needs?”

The backbench Conservative MP for Swindon South, Robert Buckland, made a measured and eloquent case in agreement, calling on the Government to ensure that “local authorities’ understanding of prevention is wide ranging and includes the very types of low-level support that can make this prevention aspiration a reality.”

In response, the Minister of State for Care Norman Lamb was at pains to point out that Local Authorities could still choose to set their thresholds at lower levels, although as Burnham countered, legislating for only critical and substantial needs sends a clear political message. This freedom of choice would also seem to run contrary to the Minister’s desire for a simplified ‘in-or-out’ care system designed to eradicate the current post-code lottery of care provision.

The Government’s decision to bring the £3.8bn health and social care integration funding under the banner of the ‘Better Care Fund’ also appears to be an acknowledgement of the increasing political pressure around the importance of lower-level care.

We will continue to watch closely for the amendments at the Committee Stage of the Care Bill. With your help as part of the Britain Cares campaign, we will continue to fight to make the legislative reforms as strong as possible and to ensure that all disabled people who need care can access it and live independent lives.

Around the country people #SpeakOut4Care – will MPs today?

Guest post from Graeme Hay, National Campaigns Officer at Scope. 

Social care takes so many different forms and can help people with loads of different tasks and activities in their everyday lives. Whether it’s helping people get up and ready in the morning, preparing and eating food, or getting out and about – this crucial support helps many disabled people live independent lives.

The Care Bill, Government legislation which will decide the future of social care, is being debated by MPs for the first time today. But at the moment it risks shutting more than 100,000 disabled people out of social care completely.

So we wanted MPs to hear from their constituents about why social care is so important to them, asking them to send in a message that we promised to deliver to their MP. We got a huge response from people all over the country – people who use social care, relatives and people who just believe everyone should be able to live their lives the way they want to.

Graeme Hay holding up Speak out for care bubble

Powerful stories

All the messages were printed out on to big speech bubbles and delivered to almost 400 MPs in Parliament last week. There were some incredibly powerful stories, here are just a few examples to share with you: 

“I want everyone who needs care to get it because… everyone deserves an equal chance to live to their full potential with the support they require in order to achieve this.”

“I want everyone who needs care to get it because… I am a 67 year old man who has been disabled from birth. I need help with everything, getting dressed, taking medication, and as I am also registered as severely sight impaired. I would be jailed in my own house and unable to get out or talk and meet new friends without help.”

“I want everyone who needs care to get it because… my wheelchair using friend has so much to offer the world but is housebound because of lack of care – lack of care makes people more dependent, not less.”

“I want everyone who needs care to get it because that is the way it should be.”

As well as all the usual briefings filling up MPs post bags, we hope they’ll pay special attention to these unique stories from their constituents, speaking out for care, and use the Care Bill debate to make sure that everyone who needs social care gets it.

Growing number of voices

And the voices speaking out for care are growing even bigger.

Alana and her brother James from Oxfordshire, who relies on social care to live independently, started a change.org petition calling on party leaders to commit to making sure everyone who needs care can get it.

At the time of writing nearly 40,000 people have already signed the petition showing just how big an issue social care is for so many people around Britain.

Will MPs respond and speak out at the debate today, to make sure everyone who needs care gets it?  Follow the debate on Twitter and check back here tomorrow for our rundown and what happened in Parliament.

Lesley’s story: My day centre funding is under threat

Guest post from Nick Duquemin, Stories Assistant at Scope.

I spend a lot of my time interviewing disabled people and their families. Many use council-funded social care, and almost everyone I’ve met is worried about how cuts to services and funding are going to affect them.

When I arrive at Lesley’s home one Monday afternoon, her mum, Jan, tellsPicture of Lesley me she isn’t home yet. Routine is very important for Lesley, 45, who has Down’s syndrome, and she couldn’t bear to miss a moment at the Goldhay Arts day centre in Peterborough.

Lesley’s been going to the centre five days a week for the whole of her adult life. She chose it because she loves to act, dance and do art, and it is her main source of social contact. She has friends there whom she has known for two decades.

Jan holds down two part-time jobs, which she fits around her daughter’s needs. Lesley gets frightened if she is left alone in the house for too long. Without day care, Jan would be unable to work.

But Lesley and Jan fear they will soon lose this lifeline. Peterborough City Council, which funds Lesley’s day care, currently supports people, like Lesley, whose needs have been assessed as ‘moderate’.

Now it plans to raise that threshold to a higher level, ‘substantial’, which means that only those with more urgent care needs will receive funding.

Lesley and her mum are worried she will lose her place at Goldhay Arts if she is reassessed as being of moderate need.

Jan has had to fight on countless occasions to make sure Lesley gets the care she needs, but she is dreading this latest battle. Worst of all is the uncertainty.

“You seem to hear a different thing every time you ask,” she says. “It could be that next week we get a letter saying she hasn’t got a place.”

Lesley arrives home and proudly shows me pictures of her family, including her dad and her stepdad, both of whom have passed away.

Then she brings down more photographs from upstairs – this time of herself, dressed up at the arts centre’s summer ball and performing in talent contests on holiday. Jan stresses that Lesley’s confidence comes from her time at day care, and Lesley agrees.

“All my friends would miss me if I’m not there, and I can’t make new friends. I’ve got lots of friends at Goldhay Arts; I’ve known some of them for 18 years,” she says.

I’d be bored, I hate staying in. I’d be sad – a lot. I’d be scared if anything goes wrong, because I love that place.”

Lesley’s day care gives her a link to the outside world, and it means she can live her life as she chooses.

Without it, she and Jan would feel very alone.

How do you use your social care? Share your stories on Twitter using the hashtag #WhatDoYouDoWithYours and follow other people’s stories.

What is Britain saying about disability? Part 2: emerging alternatives

The game changers

Scope summary of research by Linguistic Landscapes. linguistic logo

As we seek to shift attitudes with our next campaign, we recognise how important language is. We recently released the first part of some research into discourse: what people are saying about disability in Britain today, including disabled and non-disabled people, online communities, the media, Government, charities, campaigners and others.

Below are some of the emerging alternative discourses – other ways of speaking and thinking that could be built on. These include individuals actively speaking out for themselves, people breaking down barriers respectfully, making disability more ‘normal’ through the power of popular culture – and more.

Angry, active dissent

Some disabled campaigning groups explicitly take on and challenge the language of the dominant discourse. By doing this they expand what it’s possible to say about disability, and also enable more moderate voices to occupy the middle ground. But they can also tend to reinforce difference from the rest of society, whether or not that’s intended.

  • Overt rejection of ‘care’Terms like “caring” and “help” do not feature on websites of these campaigning groups, whereas for mainstream charities they are in the top 50 words. Rights feature large instead.
  • Anger is reframed as positive, fuelling action, for example “We have consistently united in anger and celebration”. Disabled people are described as vocal agents of change.
  • The raw experience of being disabled is present. There are references to hate crime, harassment, hostility, and these are not sanitised.

Self-mocking, reframing the negative

  • Some disabled groups or individuals reclaim or mock terms of abuse directed at them e.g. Benefit Scrounging Scum, Diary of a Benefit Scrounger etc. This is a powerful way of reducing the effect of the negative, but ultimately to replace the dominant discourse you need something else too.

Alternative ways of talking about disability

Other alternatives below don’t directly take on the dominant discourse, but they do provide other ways of speaking that could help to shift the way society talks and thinks.

Active individuals

  • Voices in the first person – individuals telling their own stories, rather than talking about disabled people and as a group.
  • Active aspirations and hopes – They have hopes not for a non-disabled normality but for ‘normal’ aspirational things. Trailblazers for young people: “be an undercover reporter… make an impact.. become a media star… help build a team …”

It’s okay not to know, it’s okay to ask

  • It’s possible to create respectful ‘legitimised curiosity’Instead of disabled people being alien, ‘not knowing’ is changed from disrespect to respectful interest. The Last Leg’s hashtag #isitokto encourages people to discuss what’s OK around disability. The Paralympics explained categorisations of impairments.

The power of popular culture to normalise

  • Disability appears more normal when featured within another dominant topic. On ladsy late night chat show The Last Leg, disability is just another topic, a recurring one – but recurring just as football, sex or celebrity might be. This approach powerfully ‘normalises’ disability by portraying it subtly. Could we see Gardener’s World or Location, Location, Location include disabled people without comment (as they do for gay people)?
  • Mixing disabled and non-disabled people is powerful. On The Last Leg the presenters are also a mix, which potentially breaks down the ‘us and them’ (they are all presenters, united in satire).

And more…

Other alternative discourses include:

  • ‘Calling out’ the non-disabled, reversing who’s included/excluded and challenging what’s considered normal.
  • Reversing the assumption that disability can only be a bad thing, e.g. “I celebrate my ‘MS birthday’”, “I celebrate Deaf Day. March 20th marks my entry to deaf life!”
  • Resisting sharp line between us and them.
  • Talking about technology and how it enables all of us, disabled and non-disabled people.

What do you think?

We know there’s a lot here, even in this short summary of what was a massive piece of research.  How do you think we should be responding as campaigners?  What does it mean for Scope and others?

We’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please comment below or tweet with the hashtag #ScopeGameChangers.

The Care Bill is back and politicians are starting to listen

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 Allowancethe impact of the cutsthe 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.

The bedroom tax, ATOS and social care at the Labour Party conference

Guest post from Megan Cleaver, Parliamentary Officer at Scope.

It was the second leg of Scope’s conference tour last weekend when the Labour Party headed to Brighton for their annual gathering.

It was an important week for Labour disability policy as the Party published their Making Rights a Reality (PDF) report which included two key announcements.

After a long running campaign against the ‘bedroom tax’, a measure which will cost over 400,000 disabled people between £624 and £1144 per year, Labour Leader Ed Miliband promised delegates that they would scrap the policy if they got into power in 2015. This is a welcome move as for many disabled people, a spare bedroom is not a luxury, but an essential- needed for specialist equipment, or so their severely disabled child can sleep separately from their siblings.

And there was more good news from Shadow Welfare Secretary Liam Byrne who committed to ending the Government’s contract with ATOS, who currently undertake the Work Capability Assessment (WCA). But while there are countless horror stories around the behaviour of ATOS assessors which has provoked the ire of many disabled people, the blame cannot be pinned squarely on them for the failings of the WCA.

As we said to Liam Byrne, Shadow Disability Minister Anne McGuire and Shadow Employment Minister Stephen Timms at conference, if Labour is seriously committed to getting disabled people into work, and not just off benefits, there needs to be a complete rethink of the whole assessment process to ensure it addresses the many barriers disabled people face when it comes to finding a job. Just handing a P45 to ATOS is not enough.

Arguably the most transformational policy announcement to be made at conference was Andy Burnham’s vision for ‘Whole Person Care’, paving the way for the full integration of the health and social care systems with one service (with one budget) coordinating a person’s physical, mental and social needs. This vision is an exciting prospect for disabled people who are facing their own ‘social care crisis’, often falling through the cracks between the NHS and social care system.

In his leader’s speech, Ed Miliband likened the scale of the ambition of ‘Whole Person Care’ to that of the creation of the NHS is 1948. But like much of the debate on this issue, he framed the reforms to social care purely as a means of solving the care crisis for older people. But when a third of social care users are working-aged disabled people, it is vital that the care system works for them.

As Paralympian Sophie Christiansen highlighted in her speech at the Women and Equalities discussion panel (where she received the first standing ovation at Labour Conference), getting the right social care was vital to her being able to live independently and train to become a gold medal winning equestrian.

Social care is the cornerstone of independence for disabled people. It gives them the vital support which enables them get up, get washed, get dressed so they can go to work, get involved in their local community, and reach their potential. And this is the message we will take to the Conservative Party as the Scope conference tour makes its final stop in Manchester.

Read our previous blog from the Lib Dem conference.

Disability, care and the living standards debate at the Lib Dem Conference

We want to get across two important things to politicians during this conference season. Our first chance came in Glasgow with the Lib Dems. The first was to make sure MPs are prepared for the Care Bill, set to enter Parliament in the near future. The second was to draw attention to the crisis in living standards that is facing disabled people.

One of the Lib Dem’s own themes for their conference (… accidently leaked to journalists) was ‘achievement in Government’, and it would be sensible for them to point in the direction of social care reform as an area that they have made a difference. The Care Minister, Norman Lamb MP, is a Liberal Democrat, as was his predecessor Paul Burstow MP.

Together they have pushed through the first ever single legislative framework for social care in the Care Bill. And for this they have received much praise. But Scope’s big concern with the Bill – and that of the Care and Support Alliance – is that too many disabled people will be locked out of receiving formal care by an eligibility threshold which is too high.

This point was made again and again to Norman Lamb in fringe meetings about social care. I ended up heading to events with the Minister on the panel for five straight hours on Sunday evening. At each and every event he was asked about the new national eligibility criteria and why this must not be set too high – as the Government currently intends.

Encouragingly – by 9pm – he recognised that ‘there is a debate about where the eligibility criteria should be set’, and it was another reminder that we need to keep up the pressure on the Government through the Britain Cares campaign.

It seems like the local pressure is increasing as well, with the Bradford Cares campaign also visible at the conference, most notably at a fringe event from the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors.

The question of ‘living standards’ was also a key theme of the conference. Scope’s research with Demos shows that between 2010 and 2017, 3.7 million disabled people will have lost £28bn in social security. There were thought provoking fringe meetings from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Child Poverty Action Group, Resolution Foundation and Liberal Left.

It seemed to me that the idea that the next election will be one fought on ‘living standards’ is being accepted amongst Lib Dem MPs and members. There was certainly much discussion about what the next Lib Dem manifesto would include to push up living standards.

At one fringe meeting, Frances O’Grady of the TUC said, “it is expensive to be poor”. The same is true for disabled people who are disproportionately likely to be vulnerable from financial shocks. Scope will be making sure that throughout the rest of the conference season, disabled people are front and centre of the living standards debate.

Five reasons why social care is STILL the biggest issue facing disabled people

1. The social care system is on its knees. Social care is the support disabled people get from their council to get up, get washed and dressed, and live independently. Cash-strapped councils have been upping the bar for support eligibility, with 83% of councils now setting the threshold at a higher level. According to London School of Economics 69,000 disabled people have been pushed out of the system. And councils are squeezing the support for those that are in the system. A Scope survey found almost 40% of disabled people who continue to receive social care support are not having their basic needs met including eating properly, washing, dressing or being able to get out of the house. ADASS says councils are facing a further 10% cut in their budgets. Have a listen to Angela Murray explain why social care is so important to her. Take away the preventative support and people fall into crisis. A series of experts and politicians made the link between the escalating A&E crisis and social care over the last six months.

2. Britain Cares about social care. Over the last six months the public has been showing it cares about social care. The Stephen Fry-backed Britain Cares campaign has seen over 25,000 people contact their MP about social care for disabled people – a thousand of whom have sent personalised photos to show they care. At the same time Angela launched a petition on Change.org, which has received more than 45,000 signatures. A similar petition on 38 degrees garnered just as much support. Those will passion for craft have worked the words ‘I Care’ on to everyday items and sent them to their MPs to show their support.

3. £3.8billion. The June Spending Review saw the Chancellor make significant cuts across Government departments – to reach a target of saving £11.5bn, including removing automatic pay rises for time served for staff in schools, NHS, prisons and the police. Against that backdrop he announced a £3.8 billion investment – including £2 billion of new money – in social care with the aim “of delivering better, more joined-up services to older and disabled people, to keep them out of hospital and to avoid long hospital stays”.  The Government announced this money would be spent through Health and Wellbeing Boards. This is significant as it was the mechanism a Scope-facilitated joint inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Local Government Group and All Party Parliamentary Disability Group recommended in its report Preventing Crisis: Making social care reform work for disabled adults. This should enable the money to be spent on front line services, reacting to local demand.

4. We’ve now got the small print. Some of the cash can go into the main social services kitty (or black hole judging by ADASS’ latest budget survey). But there are conditions attached, that demand councils to spend most of the money on joined-up health and social care.  Councils and health services have to agree plans for how it will be spent, which then need to be signed off by Health and Wellbeing Boards. The Government also wants to see joint approaches to assessment and care planning and, where care is joined-up, one accountable professional. Cash should also be targeted at supporting patients being discharged from hospital who need care. Most intriguingly councils only get the extra cash if they retain their eligibility threshold at the current level. This is very much a case of the Government addressing what it sees are the most urgent issues, while it goes about making the case for the Care Bill.

5. The crucial question is who gets care and who doesn’t. The Government will answer this as part of the Care Bill, which has had its first set of debates in the Lords. Under the current plans – reiterated by the Minister in a discussion guide, which also gave a clue as to how eligibility would be worked out. The good news is that some of the detail of how the Government will decide eligibility looks good. The bad news is that the Government intends to set the bar for eligibility to social care at a level which London School of Economics (LSE) says will leave 105,000 disabled people with significant needs outside of the system altogether. The bill also seeks to tackle the crisis in care by introducing a cap on costs, a new means-testing threshold and national eligibility to end the postcode lottery in care. It is due to be debated in the Lords in October and then it’s over to MPs at the end of the year. Scope – like a number of organisations – is arguing that by squeezing people out of the system the government undermines other more positive moves, such as a cap. We’re also expecting a consultation in November which will be a chance for disabled people, carers, families and public to have their say.