Government outlines social care reform plans
Wednesday 11 July 2012
The government has published plans that could improve the social care system for people with a learning disability
The government has today (11 July) published three documents that seek to reform the social care system in England.
The care and support white paper sets out the government’s plans for the future. It outlines how social care law will be improved and highlights specific areas that it wants to tackle, such as an improvement of the social care assessment process.
A draft bill makes plans to reform the legal framework of the social care system. Specifically, it aims to provide greater clarity to social care law by bringing together more than 60 years of government legislation.
The government’s progress report on the funding of the social care system has also been published today. It addresses the recommendations of the Dilnot Commission on social care funding, which advocated a cap on costs that people pay for their own care and an increase to the means-testing threshold.
Progress for people with a learning disability
Throughout the government’s plans is a commitment to overhaul the parts of the current system that are not working. While many of the plans focus on improving the social care system for older people, Mencap is pleased that positive changes are planned that will affect people with a learning disability. These include:
- making the social care assessment process clearer, to help people understand what they are entitled to
- clearing up rules around portability, so that people can move to another local authority without the fear of losing their current levels of care and support
- tightening rules around safeguarding
- looking to reform the current eligibility criteria system to end the postcode lottery.
However, Mencap says that despite the planned reforms, many people with a learning disability will still be denied access to the care and support they need. This is down to pressures on local authorities from the growing demand on services, combined with major government spending cuts.
“We believe that the government has now set out a framework for reform that will have a positive impact on the lives of people with a learning disability and their families,” said Mark Goldring, Mencap’s chief executive. “Crucially, the white paper and draft bill will set a minimum standard of eligibility and improve assessments, which we hope will end the postcode lottery of services that many disabled people face today.
“We are reassured to see that the government has committed to fund immediate reforms, but this promising blue print will never get off the ground if it fails to address the chronic underfunding in social care. The government cannot delay any longer, and must now outline an urgent plan of how it intends to fund social care reform in the long term.”
Download the care and support white paper
Download an easy-read version of the care and support white paper