England & Wales

Social Care Green Paper update

The Green Paper is out.  This is what we are saying:

We welcome the publication of the Shaping the Future of Care Together green paper, which has outlined plans to provide a more sustainable and fairer social care system.

The LGiU has long been calling for radical reform of the social care system and has lobbied the Government heavily in the lead up to the publication of the Green Paper. It welcomes the fact that the green paper has taken seriously many of the LGiU’s recommendations, which were made last year in its report Never too late for living.

The current system is dysfunctional, is perceived to be unfair, inefficient, lacks incentives, makes those ineligible invisible and it is under-funded. After much delay it is time that the green paper confronts the failings of the social care system and provides robust options for radical and long-lasting reform.

We recognise that the provision of social care for older people is a complex issue. We welcome the green paper’s proposals on universality, ensuring that all people have at least a basic package of support later on in life. There is a really important balance to be struck though between the perceived ‘guarantee’ that a national system offers, and the reality of local variance. Local variance can be a beneficial part of the system if it is about local innovation and meeting particular local needs. The green paper makes a welcome proposal to join up services for older people but in line with this it is vital that there is a radical shift in funding and greater flexibility in commissioning services at the local level.

What is also important is that in trying to establish a solution to the long-term problem of funding social care, we have to recognise that our system is also currently facing a crisis. Proposals in the green paper could take some time to implement and therefore we also need to urgently address how we will provide care for older people now.

Last year, the LGiU’s report Never Too Late for Living, which was published following the Local Government APPG’s inquiry on older people, called for a simple national agreement on the outcomes needed for quality of life as we age. It recommended using existing resources better, shifting the focus from acute to prevention.