With an estimated £1 billion to be cut from the social care budgets of local authorities this year, it’s more important than ever to protect access to essential services for society’s most vulnerable people.
A new report by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) surveyed 151 councils across England, with 93% of respondents believing that the cuts will have an impact on their ability to deliver care services.
ADASS have called for the UK Government to reverse five years of “almost unendurable” cutbacks and invest “sustained and substantial” extra funds to care for and protect vulnerable people.
Worsening Quality of Life and Worsening Quality of Care
Further social care cuts can only lead to fewer people qualifying for social care with those who do likely to receive reduced services and a lower quality of life.
According to the ADASS report, tens of thousands of elderly and disabled people may have to go without basic help to enable them to live independently.
These proposed cuts come at a time when local authorities and care providers are struggling to recruit, train and retain staff leading to reductions in care services, poor service and a lesser quality of life for many vulnerable people.
ADASS President, Ray James, said, "What is at stake is the continuing capacity of adult social care to sustain services to those in greatest need.
"In virtually all our authorities, the number in need is growing, while the complexity of their needs is increasing."
Age UK Director, Caroline Abrahams, has urged people to pay close attention to the warnings from ADASS, saying: “ADASS is not known for hyperbole so when they say further cuts would jeopardise the safety and well-being of vulnerable older people we should take that warning very seriously.”
I personally believe that the proposed cuts continue a worrying and depressing pattern of reduced funding, reduced care and, ultimately, a failure on the part of local authorities to identify those most in need and provide essential services for them.
Coming at a time when the Care Act 2014 offers local authorities arguably wider powers and duties to meet the needs of vulnerable and disabled people, these cuts raise serious questions about whether local authorities will have the ability to provide comprehensive, user-led care services that the Care Act envisages for people most in need of care.
Richard Copson is a Principal Lawyer in Slater and Gordon’s Court of Protection team who specialises in Community Care and Mental Capacity Law.
To speak with a Human Rights Solicitor about any of the issues raised in this blog, call Slater and Gordon Lawyers for a free consultation on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help you.