The public is the most important “power to be harnessed” in the push for a long-term solution to the social care funding crisis, the new president of the Association of directors of Adult Social Care Services was due to argue today.
In his inaugural speech at the Adass Spring Seminar, Glen Garrod will say promoting wider recognition of the vital role social care plays in the lives of vulnerable people is “the most essential task” for the organisation as it responds to the government’s forthcoming green paper.
Lincolnshire CC’s director of adult care and community wellbeing, who takes over from Gloucestershire CC director of adult social care Margaret Willcox, will urge political leaders and social care staff to focus on the “opportunities” the sector presents.
He will say: “Whether it’s the young adult with a profound disability or the grandparent with dementia, social care is there for us when we are at our most vulnerable.
“Helping the public to understand our contribution is perhaps our single most important task over the next year. They are the force for change to be reckoned with, the power to be harnessed.”
Mr Garrod will argue the funding crisis, which is expected to lead to shortfall of at least £2bn by 2020, is causing many care homes to close and providers to hand back contracts to councils.
He will say Adass will demonstrate that investment in social care, such as the £2bn announced in last year’s budget, “reaps rewards” by significantly reducing delayed transfers of care from hospitals.
Mr Garrod will also say the sector must “not be afraid to stand up” to the NHS as a “critical friend” where necessary and share best practice, as levels of delayed transfers of care from hospitals due to social care are now half of those attributable to the NHS.
He will add: “Any relationship, personal or professional, depends on differences being respected, working alongside one another, and recognising that sometimes disagreement is helpful.”
Mr Garrod will say “there can be no excuses” for not developing person-centred, individualised care services.
“Personalisation is our space, we cannot stagnate and watch other areas pass us by,” he will add. “This explosion of opportunities to expand personalisation is within our gift to reinforce and rejuvenate and it is essential that we deliver it.”
Mr Garrod will also emphasise the opportunity provided by supported housing for early intervention and the importance of harnessing new technology.
Minister for care Caroline Dinenage, who hinted during an appearance at the seminar yesterday that more funding may be made available for social care ahead of reform to the social care system, said she was looking forward to working closely with Mr Garrod on the green paper.
She added: “The social care sector, and the workforce that underpins it, fulfils an essential role in caring for society’s most vulnerable people. However, it’s clear that the system is facing unprecedented pressures as a result of our ageing population.”