The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) Autumn survey has been published and makes for some difficult reading.
One of the statements that really stood out to me comes in the penultimate sentence of the Foreword. It reads "Social care is not a problem to be solved, it is an opportunity to create a better society, to reduce inequalities and to genuinely 'level up'". Sadly, I don't feel that is a sentiment that is shared widely enough.
Some other highlights from the report are:
(1) "The precarious financial position of adult social care means that Director confidence in meeting what they have to do in law, which is the cornerstone of meeting basic human rights continues to diminish year on year." This is an incredibly damming statement of feeling from those tasked with running the social care system in the UK.
(2) "69% of respondents have seen an increase in people presenting needs related to domestic abuse and safeguarding." Covid is having an effect far beyond that obvious at first glance and many are suffering behind close doors because of fear of seeking help and the rollback of some services.
(3) "....We know from Carers UK that unpaid care increased during the pandemic........In many cases, if an unpaid carer falls sick, there may be no one else available, or capable, or providing the care and support that their family member or friend requires." Yet another consequence of the temporary closure of many important services.
(4) "13% of local authorities indicated that they have been asked to make additional in-year savings to their adult social care budgets for 2020/21 above and beyond those already planned." It seems unlikely that social care can really bear the force of further cuts.
(5) "For the current financial year (2020/2021) only 23% of Directors are fully confident that their budget will be sufficient to meet the duties they are required to meet in law." A further echo of the perilous financial state of social care across the country.
(6) "Unplanned care home closures are known to impact on mortality." Such a statement could be seen as a statement of the obvious but as the report makes clear, such closures are increasing in frequency as providers simply cannot make the numbers add up.
The reports recommendations start on page 16 and set out in numbers what ADASS believes needs to happen to make social care work in the UK or at least to make it viable in the long term.
We live in hope that the Government will take hold of the situation and use Covid as a way to make social care what it can be. The closing words of the report are "Doing nothing is not an option", this is undeniably true. Let's hope the right thing is done.
Tens of thousands of people are turning to social services for urgent help because of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on families and individuals with support needs