“We can’t level up this country without levelling up social care” – VODG responds to ADASS Spring Survey

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) has today published its Spring Survey 2021 (formerly the Budget Survey), which describes the financial and operating state of adult social care services in England.

Commenting on today’s publication, Dr Rhidian Hughes, Chief Executive of the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) said:

“Society works when we invest in social care to support individuals and communities. The ADASS Spring Survey makes a grim assessment: people’s needs are not being met, and current funding levels indicate the situation will not improve any time soon.

“We know that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had a significant impact on social care provision and that central government funding has not helped to meet the associated increased costs of funding care and support, all of which has been compounded by long-standing underinvestment in the sector.

“What this year’s survey report also brings to light, however, is the impact on care and support for working age adults and the high-level of concern among Directors about funding increasingly complex care and support for working age disabled people. Throughout the pandemic, VODG has repeatedly called for a more inclusive response from the government, one that prioritises working age disabled people alongside older people. This report further demonstrates how services for disabled people are at risk of being underfunded and consequently disabled people and their families not receiving the vital care and support required to live full and independent lives.

“As an infrastructure body of more than 100 voluntary sector organisations supporting disabled people across England, we are concerned that the survey found a significant number of Directors are not planning to increase funding to voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) providers, again seemingly as a result of funding pressures.

“In its Spring Survey, ADASS rightly highlights the vital contribution VCSE organisations make to communities, particularly in keys areas such as prevention and delivering services to working age adults. We know for example that VODG members often go above and beyond to provide vital care and support to disabled people in the community yet local authority commissioning now seems to be set on a trajectory of the fastest race to the bottom when it comes to funding, and in turn quality. This is simply unacceptable.

“In recent weeks there has been much mention of an impending plan for social care reform. Government must make good. It must heed these findings and make a choice – we can’t level up this country without levelling up social care.”