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Care funding commissioners named

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Economist and broadcaster Andrew Dilnot will chair the government’s Commission on the Funding of Care and Support, the Department of Health has said.

He will be joined by co-commissioners Labour peer Lord Warner – former health minister and director of social services at Kent CC, and acting Care Quality Commission chair Jo Williams, a former director of social services at Wigan MBC.

Mr Dilnot is principal of St Hugh’s College, Oxford, and former presenter of Radio 4’s More or Less programme. He also spent more than a decade as director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

The commission – which was first mooted in the coalition government’s May 20 action plan – has been handed the remit of supporting the reform of the whole social care system in conjunction with wider benefits reform.

In a written statement to Parliament, health secretary Andrew Lansley said he expected the commission to “present its initial views” to the Department of Health and the Treasury in time for them to be taken into account for the upcoming Spending Review.

Its final views are requested by the end of July next year.

Setting out the commission’s frame of reference, Mr Lansley said the commission should provide deliverable recommendations on meeting the costs of care and support “as a partnership between individuals and the state”, how people could choose to protect their assets, and how public funding for care and support can best be used.

Of particular interest to councils will be the recognition that a new system for funding care is likely to impact on the local government finance system, and the requirement for the commission to report on the expected impact of its preferred option.

Care services minister Paul Burstow told LGC the commission was required to give the government clear proposals for funding its vision for social care.

“It’s not about coming up with a long list of possibilities, it’s about coming up with a workable solution,” he said.

“It is a good sign that this government is determined to not to see this as an exercise.

“Within the course of this spending review, we want to change the system.”

Mr Burstow added that councils would have an important role to play in encouraging local service users to offer their opinions to the commission.

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services president Richard Jones said that having two former members of the association playing key roles on the funding commission was “a great bonus”.

But he warned that there were still further details to be clarified “concerning the full and final terms of reference” for the commission.

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