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Fabian Society launch consultation on social care

The Fabian Society has announced a new inquiry that will develop a roadmap towards a ‘national care service’ for England, and make recommendations to the Labour party policy review and to shadow health and social care secretary Wes Streeting MP.

The idea of a ‘national care service’ was first developed in the final year of the last Labour government. In a 2009 green paper, Labour proposed a service that would deliver: prevention services; national assessment; a joined-up service; information and advice; personalised care and support; and fair funding. The service was to be universal, fair and affordable, helping everyone who needed care and support.

At each election since then, the Labour party has promised to introduce a national care service. But in more than a decade little work has been done to flesh out what this should mean in practice. Over those years the state of adult social care has gone from bad to worse, with an acute funding crisis that makes a mockery of the statutory rights the system is supposed to deliver to older and disabled people. Frontline workers have borne the brunt of the funding pressures, through low pay and insecure working conditions. And policy debate has been badly skewed by ministers’ narrow focus on how to reform the funding of older people’s care, at the expense of other more fundamental challenges facing social care for adults of all ages.

Against this backdrop, the transformation of adult social care is likely to need to be achieved gradually over time. A ‘big bang’ reform would be destabilising for staff and service users, and would not be affordable in the short term. There are also a number of models to consider, especially taking into account current moves to integrate health and care and decentralise public services.

The consultation

The consultation aims to gather and present practical, workable proposals to gradually develop national entitlements, standards and funding models that will support the integration of social care with other public services and are designed around local accountability and individual preferences and needs. The questions it asks are:

  1. What should care and support for adults in England look like in 10 to 15 years’ time? What should it achieve? What values should inform it? How should it be run?
  2. What level of demand will there be for care and support in England over the coming years? What will be the costs and benefits of adequately meeting this need? What will happen if it isn’t met? What are the implications for equality, diversity and inclusion?
  3. What reforms to care and support in England should be initiated in the first year of a new government elected in 2024?
  4. What further reforms should be initiated or planned over the course of one parliament?
  5. Specifically, what changes should an incoming government consider with respect to:
    • Rights, control and personalisation for service users, carers and families
    • Workforce reform
    • Financial allocations and funding mechanisms
    • Organisational structures for commissioning and delivery
    • National and local leadership and accountability
    • Boundaries, interactions and integration with other parts of government, and with the rest of society

more information

Contribute to our submission

We will be making a submission to the inquiry; if you have any thoughts or views about the concept of a ‘national care service’ or any of the questions above, then please contact our Campaigns Manager, Dave Bracher, at [email protected] by Friday 26 August 2022.