Report of the Chief Officer for Adult Care and Health, Devon County Council
The Chair reported that this was Jennie Stevens’ (Director of Adult Care and Health) last meeting with this Committee and thanked Jennie for her support and work with Scrutiny over many years and Members wished her well in her retirement.
The Committee considered the Report from the Chief Officer for Adult Care and Health, Devon County Council (ACH/22/144) on the Government’s proposals for the reform of adult social care and ways to update Members as legislation developed, and engagement in the local response as legislation was passed.
The Report set out an overview (including resourcing concerns), timeliness, vision for the White Paper and policy positions including concerns relating to work force issues.
The White Paper set out a 10 year vision with three objectives:
• People have choice, control and support to live independent lives.
• People can access outstanding quality and tailored care and support.
• People find adult social care fair and accessible.
It encouraged investment and innovation and to make every decision about care a decision about housing and make a shift away from a ‘reliance on residential care’ to outstanding care in people homes that were safe and enabled independence.
The white paper however did not provide anything that would address the challenges in the health and care system in the here and now, or over the next two years that impacted on the people it served.
The Government previously announced £5.4 billion over 3 years solely for adult social care reform. The White Paper did not expand on the future allocation of funding from the Health and Social Care Levy, both in terms of money coming to Adult Social Care or the allocation within Adult Social Care e.g., would the £500M workforce fund be recurring to enable planning and longer-term investment? The concern remained that the NHS would be prioritised.
The total funding announcements in the white paper and through the Levy were modest and significantly below the figures the adult social care sector had long lobbied for and heard by the Health and Social Care Committee in 2020.
Key documents to this white paper were the current Health and Care Bill that was going through Parliament, and also the pending white paper on integration, that would set the wider conditions, landscape and arrangement for how much of the vision and policies would be delivered to help make the system better equipped to collaborate and innovate.
Members’ observations and discussion points with the Locality Director North and East Devon (Adult Care and Health) included:
· the additional work volumes and likely staffing requirements as a result of the proposed reforms which would need to be carefully assessed in the near future and involving new systems and processes;
· the new inspection proposals which could assist as a driver for improvement across all the 152 local authorities with social care and health duties;
· the daily living costs which would not count towards the £86,000 personal care costs cap and it was likely - but not certain - that this would be set at £200 per week;
· whilst CQC would be given new powers of inspection, early indications were that Department for Health and Social Care would retain an assurance role; and
· a risk for Devon County Council was the potential impact of current (and future) self-funders applying for state aid and uncertainty at this stage of the implications for people as a result of the reforms, particularly those with little or no assets.
It was MOVED by Councillor S Randall – Johnson and SECONDED by Councillor R Peart and
RESOLVED that the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee:
(a) note the content of this report that sets out the main elements of the adult social care reform white paper that are subject to the on-going Parliamentary process;
(b) be kept informed between now and the commencement of the extended means test, the care cap and extended self-funding rights in Oct 2023 to include adding specific elements of the white paper to its work programme or using Masterclass sessions to explore engagement to shape the DCC response.