1.Over the course of our inquiry on adult social care we heard extensive evidence about the financial pressures affecting adult social care: we therefore published a report before the Budget on 8 March which focused on funding and called on the Government to bring forward the £1.5 billion promised for 2019–20 to 2017–18 and to make a commitment to closing the funding gap for the rest of the Parliament. We also asked the National Audit Office to make an estimate of that funding gap.
2.We welcome the Chancellor’s commitment in the Spring Budget to provide an additional £2 billion for social care over the next three years. However, the £1 billion that will be provided in 2017–18 falls short of the amount we believe is needed to close the funding gap in that year and to provide adequate relief from what the evidence we have received shows to be a crisis in the funding of social care. We continue to believe that, on the basis of the National Audit Office’s determination of the level of funding required, the Government should commit to closing the funding gap for the years to 2019–20. We also welcome the announcement of a Green Paper on the long-term funding of social care but believe that it should be taken forward on a cross-party basis and include key bodies in the sector to ensure that the work results in a lasting solution that is supported across the political spectrum.
3.In this final report, we bring together evidence to show the very serious consequences that the levels of funding for social care in recent years have had on:
We also identify the difficulties arising from the structure of the system and, in this context, examine the progress on closer working between health and social care services. We also explore innovation in the provision of social care and, finally, we look at how social care will be funded once reforms to local government finance have taken effect (2019–20 and beyond) and in the much longer term (from 2030) taking into account current demographic trends.
4.As we noted in the report that we published before the Spring Budget, this has been our longest inquiry this Parliament. The length and depth of our investigations reflected both the importance of social care for some of the most vulnerable people in our society and the carers who support them, and also the repeated and mounting concerns of the sector about the state of social care finances and the consequences for people who receive services and for the NHS. We set out to hear from as many stakeholders as possible and took evidence from 41 witnesses over eight evidence sessions and received over 200 written submissions.
5.We were particularly conscious of the importance of hearing from people who receive council-funded social care and from unpaid carers and wanted as many people on the ‘frontline’ to take part in our inquiry as possible. As well as taking formal evidence from people in receipt of social care—Isaac Samuels, Anna Severwright and Larry Gardiner—and carers—Margaret Dangoor, Lana Harber and Christine Euman—we gathered informal evidence through an online forum and spoke to service users and carers at a roundtable event in Westminster. In addition, the Channel 4 Dispatches team gave us a showing of their documentary on home care and answered our questions about the findings of their investigation. We are very grateful to the many people who took part in our inquiry and to our special advisers, Caroline Glendinning, Professor Emerita of Social Policy at the University of York, and Raphael Wittenberg, Associate Professorial Research Fellow at the Personal Social Services Research Unit at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
29 March 2017