Headlines: May 13th, 2008

Social services directors have called for the proposed Green Paper on the funding of adult social care to be radical and courageous. John Dixon, the President of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services said the launch by the Government of a widespread consultation ahead of the paper was the ‘end of the beginning’ of a long campaign for a more equitable and sustainable basis to funding.

The consultation was announced by the Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, who said that in 20 years’ time a quarter of the adult population would be over 65 and the number of over 85s would have doubled. The government will stage a series of regional events to ask the public and stakeholders for their views about care and support as a way of creating a system that promotes independence and choice for service users and ensures that government support is targeted at those most in need.

Mr. Dixon said that ADASS and other bodies had long campaigned for the debate on social care to be opened up in this way and he saw the Government’s commitment of time and effort to the Green Paper as a measure of the rising importance of adult social care. “As we move towards a more holistic approach to the needs of all adults within our communities, new and challenging questions are bound to arise in the way we finance and manage new services. Equally, we shall need to consider the amount that individuals should be expected to pay; the amount of help they should be entitled to from others via State spending, and the amount that perhaps their families might be expected to pay,” he said.

He urged the Government not to overlook the contribution of informal and up to now unwaged carers and the question of how much they might expect to be paid. “We look forward to a document emerging from the consultations which will be as radical as the challenges require, and as courageous as the circumstances demand,” he added.