If the Government expected a rapturous reception to the proposed social care reforms, they were probably disappointed. The reality for many in the sector is that there are still so many unanswered questions – particularly when it comes to funding.
ADASS certainly seems underwhelmed and sees little prospect of substantially increased funding for social care in the near or medium term. The most glaring question is how any funding shortfall that results from capping individual contributions to care costs and more generous means testing will be made good.
Money raised through higher National Insurance contributions will initially go towards reducing NHS waiting lists. How much of it will ever find its way into social care? And what will higher employers’ NI contributions do to the viability of many care providers? Not to mention that the NI Levy does nothing to address the worsening vacancy crisis in social care, or the poor pay in the sector that is driving that problem.
Social Care Reforms – Still a Work in Progress?
Of course, the proposed social care reforms could be reshaped in many different ways before they are implemented. But for now it seems more of a tentative step than a bold leap that will fix social care once and for all.
Once again, the wisest approach might be to focus on fixing the parts of the existing social care infrastructure that are fixable, right now; while keeping one eye on how the political discussions evolve.
Helping People Choose Their Own Care
One interesting proposal is that local authority brokerage teams may be expected to become more involved in helping self-funders select and arrange their care. There’s a lot of sense in this approach. It will help to better coordinate care services within an area. It will also provide a more joined-up approach for service users following their care needs assessment. This should make the care system easier to navigate.
But you can almost hear service heads up and down the country asking how they will be expected to do that without extra resources – particularly where brokerage teams are already overstretched.
And this is where the two themes converge: fixing a fixable part of the system, and putting tools in place that would ease the burden on brokerage teams and allow their role to evolve to offer more support to self-funders.
The eBrokerage by UDMS solution is a cloud-based platform that streamlines the brokerage process. It can be used to broker care you fund or part-fund, or care that is self-funded by the service user.
The highly flexible eBrokerage by UDMS solution can be implemented within a few weeks and is easy to procure through the G-Cloud 12 framework, via Ulysses eBrokerage Cloud Software.