This report warns that the government’s adult social care funding approach is unlikely to ensure performance reaches a level the public – and many politicians – expect.
It is based on a roundtable and interviews with senior stakeholders from central and local government, care providers, the investment sector and others with expertise in social care. It examines why the government has not resolved the underlying workforce crisis and lack of capital investment – and sets out what the chancellor could do to fix these problems.
Government spending on adult social care fell 9.5% in real terms throughout the first half of the 2010s, only returning 2009/10 levels again in 2019/20. Instead of long-term investment the government’s inefficient cycle of ‘crisis-cash-repeat’ has seen it issue three short-term, emergency pots of money – but all three have come too late to make a meaningful difference. A lack of financial stability means workforce issues aren’t addressed, with the long-standing staffing crisis in adult social care – with 165,000 vacancies – now arguably more severe than the higher profile one in the NHS itself.
However, the government has another opportunity to address some of these issues in the spring budget – and the report sets how the chancellor could improve both policy and financial stability for the sector.