This article reflects the front line perspective from Directors of Adult Social Care. Progress appears to be relatively glacial as funding and organisational silos take considerable time to break down. There is a real challenge as to whether or not the new government has the courage to address the fact that at the moment, wealth locked up in property is not used to fund care costs, instead younger tax payers with dismal housing and pensions prospects are funding care for people who had free university tuition, generous pension and welfare benefits (relative to now) and of course the triple lock which during the last 7 years of the austerity programme has gone from a spend of £80 billion to £110 billion. Given public sector austerity seems set to continue- the position is clearly not sustainable and the new Government needs to tackle this issue now.
When asked by LGC to sum up the mood among delegates at the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services spring seminar this week, Margaret Willcox - fresh from her inaugural speech as president - was keen to stress the difference between hopefulness and optimism. She said hope had come from meaningful, albeit short-term, government action on social care funding and assurances that a new Conservative administration would be committed to finding a long-term solution. Ms Willcox also pointed to a significant increase in “positive” dialogue with government and NHS officials in recent months on the potential way forward. But she was keen to stress there was still some “dancing together” to do with government and the NHS to address a number of challenges and uncertainties before delegates’ hopefulness could shift to positive expectation.