People at the Heart of Care- our summary of the new White paper

On the 1st December 2021, the British government published the long-awaited White paper: ‘People at the Heart of Care’.

A week on, we have had opportunity to digest its contents, and to form our thoughts about it. Here is a link for you to read or download the full document. We think it’s really important that people are able to access and understand clear information about things which affect them. Below, we have included a summary of some of the key elements of the paper.

What are the headlines?

The paper is heralded as a ten year vision for adult social care, and it covers three core objectives:

1. People have choice, control, and support to live independent lives.
2. People can access outstanding quality and tailored care and support.
3. People find adult social care fair and accessible.

Person-centred care is a recurring theme throughout the paper. There is acknowledgement that…”the ambition of the Care Act has not consistently been achieved in the way we would have liked”.

Key policies

There are some key policies to be introduced over the next three years:

  • Integrating housing into local health and care strategies to increase the range of options available.
  • Funding for greater adoption of technology and digitisation across social care.
  • Funding for training & qualifications for the social care workforce; and workforce wellbeing prioritised.
  • A new practical support service to make minor repairs and changes in peoples’
    homes to help people remain independent and safe in their home and increase in Disabled Facilities Grants to support certain adaptations to people’s homes.
  • Funding to work with the sector to improve support provided to unpaid carers.
  • Funding for local areas to develop new & different ways of providing support and care, including more options that suit peoples’ needs and individual circumstances.
  • A new national website to explain the upcoming changes and funding for  new ways to help people understand and access the care and support available.
  • Funding to help increase the support offer across adult social care, improve delivery and assist Local Authorities with planning and developing support & care options.

The proposals set out within the White paper are backed by the Health & Care Levy announced earlier this year in September, stating that £5.4 billion is being invested into adult social care over the next three
years.

Further detail

The paper then goes out to break down the three core objectives into finer detail. Under each objective, there is a set of statements, which could be used as a benchmark to demonstrate whether the objectives are being met and embedded at a local level. The statements are written in the ‘first person’ and should be able to stated by anybody drawing on care & support, anyone in an unpaid carer role, or any wider organisations or professionals involved in the delivery of care & support.

The next section of the paper refers to ‘strong foundations’ and makes reference to underpinning legislative frameworks such as:  Mental Capacity Act 2005; Health and Social Care Act 2008, 2012; Care Act 2014 and the Health & Care bill which is currently going through parliament.

In addition, there is further reference to Mental Health Act 1983 (which is currently going through reform); Autism Act 2009; Children & Families Act 2014 which add to the wider legislative framework surrounding Social care.

There is also a statement of intention to publish a further White paper on the integration of health & care services.

The paper sets out some of the current challenges such as:

  • An increase in demand for Health & Social Care
  • The need for a healthier and more diverse Health & Social Care market place
  • The variation in quality and safety of provider services
  • A depleted Health & Social Care workforce
  • A complicated system for people to navigate, including lack of good information & advice
  • The need to accelerate the adoption of technology & digitisation across the sector
  • Limited range of housing options
  • The need to integrate services

The next section of the paper emphasises the concept of ‘Right care – Right place – Right time’, with an emphasis on improving the range of housing options available to people and ways to support people to live in homes and communities they choose.

There are a range of case studies throughout the paper which illustrate the themes being presented.

One of the really stand-out elements is the emphasis on unpaid carers (including young carers being recognised), and the willingness to explore models of support for carers that are working well in other countries such as Germany & Australia.

The White paper states the intention for the Department for Education to amend their schools census to clearly include ‘Young carer’ data; to raise the visibility of young carers within the school system. This will also help to build the picture of the impact of  ‘caring’ on school attendance, educational progress and attainment.

There is also a section on supporting people with autism and learning disability into employment.

The paper goes on to lay out further details about improving the Health and Social Care workforce (including support with recruitment, retention and skills/training); and finally how it is going to work with Local Authorities to stimulate new and innovative ways of providing support and a good range of choice for people at a local level.

Independent assessment of Local Authorities within the Health & Care bill

The CQC (Care Quality Commission) as a regulatory body will have a new duty to review how partners of Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) are working together and also to review how Local Authorities deliver Adult social care functions. Under the Health & Care bill (currently going through parliament) the CQC will assess how Local Authorities are meeting people’s needs.

There is an example set of assessment criteria given within this White paper:

  • Maintaining oversight of the social care workforce in their local area, supporting
    staff retention and professional development.
  • Managing transitions between services, for example between health and social care,
    and the transition from children’s to adults’ services.
  • Preventing people from requiring social care in the first instance, for example by
    supporting and developing community organisations working on prevention
    and reablement.
  • Carrying out their safeguarding duties.
  • Ensuring good outcomes for people through effective leadership.
  • Managing their commissioning and contracting responsibilities.
  • Shaping the care market to meet people’s needs with diverse and quality provision,
    enabling choice and independence.
  • Meeting the needs of unpaid carers.
  • Assessing the needs of people who may be eligible for care and support them to
    access what they need, whether or not they receive local authority support or will
    fund their own care.

The paper concludes by outlining next steps, which mainly cover the introduction of working groups on a number of the new policies being introduced.

Let us know your thoughts- it is helpful for us to hear from people who are interested for different reasons; so we’d love to hear from:

  • People drawing on Health & Social Care support
  • Unpaid carers
  • Young carers
  • Local Authority employees- particularly social workers and commissioners
  • People working in frontline Health and Social Care services
  • Housing providers

Has this blog been helpful? What do you think about the proposals which are being outlined? If you’re reading this via a social media post, pop a comment below; or alternatively, drop us an email: info@imagineer.org.uk

You can read some of our other blogs here.

 

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