VODG responds to parliamentary inquiry into the long-term funding of social care

15 April 2021

VODG has today submitted a response to a parliamentary inquiry into the long-term funding of social care, highlighting how the government has in its power the potential to rebuild a sustainable system that prioritises solutions that work for everyone.

The inquiry was launched by the Housing, Communities and Local Government Committee to investigate how COVID-19 has impacted the adult social care sector and its long-term funding needs following the pandemic.

Key points raised in the submission included:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the workforce and funding pressures, require the government to urgently set out not just how it will reform the sector, but how it will put it on a sustainable financial footing – and where that money will come from.
  • The government needs to work with the public to secure the mandate, and social contract, between citizen and state, for care and support to all those who need it to enable them to live independent and fulfilling lives. To achieve this also requires government to work cross-party to ensure the reforms are lasting.
  • Throughout the pandemic we have seen the Department of Health and Social Care respond first in relation to care homes for older people, and then, if at all, more widely. Social care for disabled people has, at times, appeared as an after thought in policy thinking and implementation. It is vitally important for government’s approach to shift to an inclusive and balanced consideration for all when considering long-term funding reform.
  • It is vital that increasing and widening the sources of social care funding is not viewed as a reason for cutting funding for state-funded care.
  • We need robust investment from central government to sit alongside strong local leadership to work hand in hand with the voluntary sector. During periods of financial stringency, strong partnerships are needed more than ever. Procurement and tendering processes that encourage partnership and collaborative working and discourage competitive practices, should be strengthened.
  • Adult social care commissioning is in need of urgent reform – competition that focuses on price, and not quality, contracts on care hours rather than outcomes and very little attention given to relationship building between people who use services and providers, demonstrate that endless commissioning cycles are not only expensive for all parties but also fail to make the most effective use of the public purse.

Dr Rhidian Hughes, Chief Executive of VODG, said:

“VODG welcomes the committee’s focus on adult social care and encourages consideration of the issues across the whole sector, of which there are a large number of disability charities operating.

“Delays to reform and under resourcing of services cannot continue if we are to build a brighter social care future for the millions of people who use these services every day. The reality is that the country is at a pivotal point of change and a whole system, cross-party approach is urgently needed to build a sustainable funding solution that funds an adult social care sector that is responsive, preventative as well as fit-for-purpose in a post-COVID operating environment.”

VODG Media Centre