‘Tragedy’ that calls for social care winter funding have ‘fallen on deaf ears’, ADASS president

It is a “tragedy” that calls for emergency funding to stabilise the social care sector over the winter seem to have “fallen on deaf ears”, a boss in the industry has said.

Stephen Chandler, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), said money pledged for the sector over the next three years is “grossly inadequate”.

He said the organisation is hearing reports from across the country of staff quitting for better pay and less responsibility, in sectors such as retail and hospitality, while unpaid carers are “buckling under the strain”.

ADASS has called for £1.5 billion emergency funding for the winter and a further £1.5 billion to help family carers.

Mr Chandler (pictured) said: “So far, our calls seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

“Which is a tragedy, because that £3 billion would be less than 1% of what the Government has spent in response to the Covid pandemic and yet it would see us safely through the months ahead.”

He was speaking at this year’s National Children and Adult Services Conference, taking place online on Wednesday and throughout the week.

The Government has pledged £5.4 billion to social care over the next three years, out of a total £36 billion to be raised from the new health and social care levy.

Some of this will fund changes to the means test and the care cap, while £500 million will go towards the workforce, with Mr Chandler describing what is available for key reform as “grossly inadequate”.

A £162.5 million workforce recruitment and retention fund for the winter is also in place, while the Government has launched an advertising campaign to attract people to the sector.

Mr Chandler continued: “We cannot make do and mend any longer. Adult social care deserves more – it deserves better.”

Councillor Paulette Hamilton, vice chair of the Local Government Association’s community wellbeing board, said there is “no equality in social care at the moment”.

She said a one-off retention bonus is “the least” the Government should do as a starting point to value the social care workforce, adding: “If we don’t do something very quickly this winter, many authorities will absolutely collapse because they haven’t got the staff coming through the sector.”

Also addressing delegates was the Association of Directors of Childrens Services (ADCS) president Charlotte Ramsden, who said the wider child social care sector is facing “looming capacity challenges on multiple fronts”.

She said the organisation has raised issues of recruitment and retention of social workers, children’s home managers, residential staff, foster carers, teachers and youth workers.

She said: “Urgent attention is needed, our teams are tired after 20 months of crisis response, we are running on goodwill and caffeine at this stage.”

She added that children’s lives “don’t fit in neat little boxes and yet policy continues to be developed in silos”.

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2021, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) ADASS.