16 August 2018

The Local Government Association (LGA) has published a consultation paper on the future of social care reform, calling for all stakeholders (including care home operators, owners, funders, care worker, service users and other members of the public) to provide their views on how adult social care should be funded in the future.

For those of you that would like to provide your views, you can respond either by visiting the Future of Adult Social Care website or you can submit your answers to the consultation questions to socialcareconversation@local.gov.uk.

How should adult social care be funded?

At the highest level, the paper acknowledges that years of austerity, coupled with an aging population, have caught up with the adult social care market and that a new solution is needed to address the estimated £3.5 billion funding gap faced by 2025. If the gap is not closed, funding pressures will lead to:

  • fewer people being able to get the high quality care they need
  • providers under the increasing threat of financial failure
  • disinvestment in prevention driven by the requirement to meet people's higher level needs.

These funding pressures in turn have severe knock-on consequences for the NHS as demand for costly acute care increases in the absence of appropriate social care.

What is the purpose of the consultation?

The consultation deliberately seeks to open a debate and does not state a preference for any single solution. However, it clearly signposts the need for continued improvements in the integration of adult social care (funded by local authorities) and community care (funded by the NHS). It also emphasises the need to increase investment in low-cost preventative services to reduce demand for high cost, reactive care.

The consultation also analyses some of the measures that might be proposed to raise money to tackle the funding deficit, including:

  • means-testing of universal benefits
  • the introduction of a social care premium for those over the age of 40
  • an increase of 1% on income tax, national insurance and council tax
  • a charge for accommodation costs in continuing health care.

The paper also recognises a fundamental need to establish the values on which the social care system of the future should stand, presenting a thought provoking quotation from Professor Jon Glasby:

All too often, the funding of adult social care is seen as an economic and a technical issue: what’s the best mechanism for raising the funding we need? While this is important, the more fundamental questions are personal, political and philosophical: what kind of life do we want to have together as a society? How much do we value disabled and older people with care needs? What sort of support would we want available to any of us if we needed care? How much do we really value this and how much might we therefore be prepared to pay for whatever quality of life we decide we want?"

What happens next?

The consultation is open until 26 September 2018, and the response will be published in the autumn in time to influence the Budget, spending review, NHS plan and the government's green paper.

Key contact

Patrick Parkin

Patrick Parkin Partner

  • Healthcare
  • Procurement and State Aid
  • Commercial

Subscribe to news and insight


Our healthcare lawyers provide clear, innovative and commercial advice to some of the largest independent providers of health and social care in the UK and suppliers of goods and services to the NHS.
View expertise