Health and Social Care Bill

Memorandum submitted by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) (HS 59)

1. The ABI is the voice of insurance, representing the general insurance, investment and long-term savings industry. It was formed in 1985 to represent the whole of the industry and today has over 300 members, accounting for some 90% of premiums in the UK.

2. The ABI is not opposed to the general principles of the Health and Social Care Bill. We do, however, wish to draw to the Bill Committee’s attention two issues on which we urge the Committee to seek clarification: t he definition of social care and how the Government envisages the Bill will interact with existing initiatives on social care.

The definition of social care

3. The Health and Social Care Bill, Commission on Funding of Care and Support and the Law Commission all use different definitions of social care. In the Bill, "adult social care" is defined as:

3.1 "Includes all forms of personal care and other practical assistance for individuals who by reason of age, illness, disability, pregnancy, childbirth, dependence on alcohol or drugs, or any other similar circumstances, are in need of such care or assistance". 

4. This definition is for adult social care. This use of the word adult implies that this definition is only for people of a certain age and, therefore, does not apply to children. We therefore ask what this means for children with social care needs?

5. The definition of social care outlined in the Bill is completely different to the Commission on Funding of Care and Support, whose definition of social care is:

5.1 "Care and support assists individuals with certain physical, cognitive or age-related conditions in carrying out personal care or domestic routines. It helps people sustain involvement in work, education, learning, leisure and other social support systems. It supports people in building social relationships and participating fully in society". 

6. The Law Commission defines social care as:

6.1 "...the responsibilities of local social services authorities towards adults who need extra support. This includes older people, people with learning disabilities, physically disabled people, people with mental health problems and carers."

7. These Commissions’ work is vital to moving forward policy on funding care. We are concerned that these differing definitions of social care may be an issue when the commissions report to the Government on their findings.

Co-ordination with other social care initiatives

8. The Law Commission is currently at Stage two of its adult social care project , which is concerned with the law relating to the provision of adult social care in England and Wales to provide a clearer, modern and more cohesive framework for adult social care.

9. The Law Commission and Commission on Funding of Care and Support are doing important work on issues around social care. It is important that the Bill interacts with these and we would ask that this is considered during the Bill’s passage.

February 2011