How do we ensure choice, control and quality is at the heart of a new social care system?

On July 7th, Robert Droy from SCIL was asked to address the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Care. Niall Dixon from the Kings Fund was also speaking.

An audience of around 100 people, including around 30 members of Parliament and Peers from House of Lords fired questions at both Robert and Niall for over an hour.

As well as much speculation about what might or might not be in the green paper some of the key points that were discussed (in no particular order) included:

  • Social Care should have an equal footing with Health Care. Lack of investment in social care will cost more in the future. Preventative work is often talked about however ever tighter eligibility criteria leaves increasing numbers of people, particularly older people at risk of developing more serious impairments and higher support needs in the future.

  • Everybody, regardless of their age or impairment, should be able to have choice and control over the support they receive.  These are basic human rights, not just about getting up in the morning and going to bed at night but living a full and active life. Human rights cannot be at the whim of the local authorities. Disabled people should have guaranteed minimum entitlements wherever they live in the country. Support must also be portable.

  • Over the last 25 years, CILs have been at the forefront of developing the Personalisation agenda, starting with Direct Payments and now moving towards self directed support.

  • Many CILs are struggling to compete against some of the bigger non-user led organisations, particularly as many local authorities feel compelled to competitively tender for many support services that are best delivered by CILs.

  • Access to Peer Advocacy leading to Self Advocacy are essential to ensure that  ALL users can take full advantage of the personalised agenda. However funding for Advocacy services are thin on the ground.

  • Training for Disabled People and Personal Assistants should be available but should not be a barrier to encouraging ‘new’ people to enter the social care workforce.

  • Integrating funding streams should not mean people lose their basic entitlement to certain benefits e.g. DLA / AA

  • Many Disabled People also experience multiple discrimination because they are lesbian or gay or come from a black / minority ethnic community. The Government needs to listen to their views.

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