UK Government publishes white paper on social care

The UK Government has today released a new white paper on social care, which sets out plans for the sector across the next decade.

The document – ‘People at the Heart of Care: adult social care reform’ – sets out aims and goals, as well as outlining the government’s 10-year vision.

In the Department of Health and Social Care publication a number of areas are covered, with a focus on the wellbeing of the workforce, empowering care receivers, unpaid carers, and families, and on supporting local authorities to deliver reforms.

The publication also includes details about the recent reforms which will address how care is paid for, through a cap on personal care costs at £86,000 and means-tested support for anyone with less than £100,000 in chargeable assets.

In a foreword, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, states, “For too long, successive governments have ignored the challenges facing adult social care…the proposals outlined will not solve all the problems, but they are a significant step in moving us towards a new vision for social care.”

Choice and control over care, independence, valuing the social care workforce, and recognising the contribution of unpaid carers, are all mentioned as being part of the vision, with the summary of the document describing “person-centred care” as a key theme.

Main funding points within the plan include: at least £500 million to provide the social care workforce with training and qualifications through a dedicated framework, careers pathways and linked investment, as well as funding for Care Certificates and continuous professional development budgets; at least £300 million for integrating housing into local health and care strategies; at least £150 million to support the adoption of technology and digitisation in the sector, with the aim of improving both care and independent living through these means.

Other policies noted are: a new practical support service to make minor repairs and changes to homes, allowing people to stay safe and independent; increasing the upper limit for the Disabilities Facilities Grant for home adaptations; up to £25 million to ‘kick-start’ changes in services to support unpaid carers; £30 million to help local areas ‘innovate’ and provide care in ‘new and different ways’; a new website to help people understand the changes; and more than £70 million to ‘increase the support offer’ and improve delivery of care.

Further proposed plans for the workforce include mental health support, social worker training routes, and a new digital hub to help staff access support, information and advice, as well as to provide a portable record of learning and development.

Read the full white paper, here.