Like it or not the Care Act is here and is most likely to remain regardless of political comment in the run up to the parliamentary elections next month. Frankly, regardless of the colour of the next Government it is doubtful that any major changes will be made. Nevertheless, the elephant in the room that will have the most impact on the success or failure of the implementation of the Care Act rests with Government’s willingness to ensure that sufficient funding is in place to support commissioners and providers to deliver good quality sustainable care across the sector in whatever setting is most appropriate to meet the needs of those being cared for. The Local Government Association gave us this cautionary statement in January this year:
“Analysis carried out by the LGA, which represents councils in England, shows that in the next financial year (2015/16) councils will have to find £1.1 billion from other service budgets to continue protecting adult social care spending in cash terms. It follows a £900 million hit taken by other services to help plug adult social care funding last year. The analysis is based on current spending patterns, which show councils have consistently been protecting spending on adult social care at a time when the elderly population continues to rise and local services have faced the biggest and most sustained cuts in funding since the war.
The £1.1 billion which need to be taken from other services in 2015/16 is equivalent to:
- The cost of filling 20 million potholes.
- Running 3,800 libraries. There are currently just over 4,000 libraries in England.
- Employing 80,000 school crossing patrol attendants.
The LGA is warning that if the crisis in adult social care funding is not addressed, councils will have little money left for any other services by the end of the decade.”