Joint Parliamentary Inquiry into Social Care
The Local Government All-Party Parliamentary Group and the All-Party Parliamentary Disability Group have undertaken an inquiry into adult social care for working age disabled people.
Following four oral evidence sessions to address different aspects of social care reform, from the right to independent living, the impact of eligibility criteria on access to care and the implications of the Dilnot Commission's recommendations, the inquiry also received written evidence submissions from a number of disability and social change organisations to assist.
The report was launched at a reception in the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday 15 May, attended by the chairs of the APPG groups involved in the inquiry, alongside representatives from a number of third sector organisations.
The key findings of the Promoting Independence, Preventing Crisis report are set out in the final list of recommendations:
1. In its statutory guidance of the Care and Support Bill, the Department of Health must practically describe the balancing of an individual’s and carer’s interests to make it explicitly clear that the needs of carers should not be used to obstruct disabled people’s active participation in society.
2. The Government should extend the wellbeing principle in the Care and Support Bill to include a right to independent living (as described in articles 19, 20 and 21 of the Charter of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).
3. The Government should acknowledge disabled people’s concerns about the closure of the Independent Living Fund and work more closely with them to manage the closure for the 20,000 affected.
4. The Office for Disability Issues, as part of the implementation of the disability strategy, should urgently review (alongside Think Local, Act Personal) best practice in supporting disabled people, families, councils and providers to pursue independent living and ensure this is shared.
5. The Government should amend the duties under Clause 31 of the Care and Support Bill so that portability is based on a disabled person’s ‘firm intention’ to move and that the received authority must have regard to the assessment and package given by the leaving authority to ensure the outcomes of support as ‘equivalent’ (or ‘enhanced’).
6. The Government must prioritise the design of a new framework of eligibility, actively engaging core stakeholders, and publish draft regulations relating to it before the Second Reading of the Care and Support Bill.
7. In establishing a national threshold for eligibility, the Government should commit to setting this at a lower level in the forthcoming Spending Review of 2013.
8. Regulations arising from the Care and Support Bill should contain transitional arrangements for councils who currently have set eligibility at the higher levels to ensure they can bring it down to a lower national threshold.
9. The Government should place Resource Allocation Systems (RAS) onto a statutory footing through the Care and Support Bill, supported by new duties on councils to be transparent about decisions relating to them and underpinned by a requirement on local authorities to take into account the true cost of care and support when setting RAS rates. This should have due regard for the contribution of disabled people to determining the nature of their care and support.
10. Healthwatch England should undertake an investigation into RAS and user-led purchasing to identify if care consumers are able to meet the true cost of care, identify the extent to which people have to subsidise care packages and suggest ways of strengthening the implementation of the market-shaping provisions contained in the Care and Support Bill.
11. Government should extend the definition of prevention in the Care and Support Bill to ensure the promotion of independent living and include duties to identify and support ‘unmet need’ and ‘potential unmet need’.
12. Health and Wellbeing Boards should be given, through the Care and Support Bill, a duty to identify, plan for and commission preventative services that maximise the independence of disabled people.
13. The Care and Support Bill should extend to the Right to Control regulations to pilot joint assessments and pooled budgets across health, social care, benefits, housing and employment support that can be directed by disabled people.
14. The Government must publish and consult on an evidenced rationale for the age at which care contributions should begin, and the level of the taper, for adults who acquire a disability in their adult life.
15. The Government should encourage councils and the NHS to jointly invest in care and support that promotes independence and prevents crisis.
16. Up to £2 billion of NHS money should be made available for councils and the NHS to spend on preventative care, through Health and Wellbeing Boards at the Spending Review in June 2013.