The Care and Support Alliance’s response to the Dilnot Report
July 4, 2011
Twenty three members of the Care & Support Alliance have released a joint statement welcoming today’s report from the Dilnot Commission as a ‘strong foundation on which to build reform of the social care system’. The report incorporates many of the Alliance’s core principles for reform, and the organisations, including Age UK, Mencap and Carers UK, have called upon the Government to act quickly and decisively to end the crisis in social care funding.
In a joint statement, they said:
“For too long the social care system has been chronically underfunded, leaving disabled and older people and their families with an outdated care system which is not fit for purpose. A lack of awareness of the costs of care and the complexity of the system have left individuals and families confused and frustrated at the difficulty in trying to get help and facing huge and unexpected bills.
It is now vital that Government sets out a clear timetable for change and does so quickly. We call on the Government to commit to a White Paper by next Easter at the latest, which goes hand in hand with a reform of social care law, to clearly set out rights and entitlements both for families and care professionals.
The Alliance has long urged political consensus on social care and we warmly welcome the offer of cross party talks. Social care is too important an issue to leave to party politics. What we need is a long term solution that can weather political and economic change and meets everyone’s needs – from young adults with disabilities to older people”
The report meets the Care & Support Alliance’s criteria for success in several ways:
Additional public funding – with an ageing population and people living longer with illness and disability, more money is needed just to maintain current levels of service. But, in addition to meeting growing demand, if we want to raise standards to a quality we would all expect, then the social care system will require substantial new money.
A system which recognises the needs and costs of younger disabled adults as well as older people.
Clarity about costs – capping the costs of care removes the risk that families will face catastrophic care costs as they get older or if they are affected by illness or disability. This will also enable people to plan better for the costs of care.
Currently, where you live determines what care you get and how much it costs. Proposals to introduce a national system of assessments and eligibility would reduce administration, confusion and complexity. This proposal would also deliver ‘portability’ – helping those families or individuals who want to move to another area, but currently risk their care arrangements breaking down because of differing local provision.
We warmly welcome proposals to create a new universal advice and information strategy for families. Whether their care needs develop suddenly or over time, we know that many people struggle to get advice and information on where to get support. Our organisations hear every day from families who struggle to navigate the care and support system to get essential help.
Recognition of the contribution of families who care – often at significant cost to their own jobs, health, income and well-being.
Recognition that universal benefits, such as Attendance Allowance for older people, need to be retained. These benefits provide flexible support for older and disabled people which can be spent on what individuals need most.