The National Audit Office is today warning that local authorities face serious financial pressures, with increasing demand for adult social care as their budgets continue to be cut.
The NAO report on the first-phase of the Care Act reforms found that the Department of Health has implemented the first phase of the 2014 Care Act well. However, it also says that going forward, funding could prove insufficient to meet the new duties under the Act, particularly regarding carers’ assessments.
Responding to the report’s findings, Sue Brown, Vice Chair of the Care & Support Alliance, said:
“While today’s NAO report finds that the first phase of the Act has been implemented well, it also highlights serious concerns about local authorities’ ability to meet demand while their core funding is being significantly reduced.
“The Care & Support Alliance has previously warned that the Care Act reforms will prove to be ‘built on sand’ unless more funding is put into the social care system.
“Chronic underfunding of adult social care has seen dramatic year-on-year rationing of support, excluding hundreds of thousands of older and disabled people from the care they desperately need to get up, get dressed and get out of the house. This is also putting unbearable pressure on family carers. The scale of the crisis in social care funding is clear – the LGA and ADASS estimate a £4.3 billion funding gap by 2020.
“The Care Act is a bold reform of the system, but the Government needs to provide adequate funding so that local authorities can actually implement the reforms. Last year, nine out of ten councils signalled concern that lack of funding could jeopardise vital reforms to the care system with the implementation of the Care Act 2014. Last week, the Association of Directors of Adult Social services found 83% of Directors report there will be an impact on services over the next two years due to funding cuts.
“The Government needs to urgently address the crisis in care funding to prevent the care system from total collapse in the next decade. Anything else is a false economy.”
Read the full report: http://www.nao.org.uk/report/care-act-first-phase-reforms/