The LGA perspective

This article forms part of the LGA think piece series 'Towards a sustainable adult social care and support system'.

Potentially difficult reforms to deliver a sustainable and fully funded care system in the future stand a greater chance of success if they are built on political and public consensus which can deliver cross-party cooperation, particularly in a parliament with a narrow majority.

Political consensus
Given how quickly the politics of care funding reform can turn toxic, we fully support Baroness Eaton’s call for an ‘amnesty on the politicking of social care funding reform’. Creating a safe space in which the real issues and the full range of possible solutions can be debated could pave the way for a shared and concerted effort to raise awareness of social care with the public. This might include, for instance, an agreed cross-party narrative on why adult social care matters, how the system works, the challenges it faces, the level of funding required in the sort, medium- and long-term, and the types of options that are most likely and realistic to raise that level of funding.

The LGA therefore reiterates its belief that the Leaders of our national political parties, along with relevant Ministers, should come together for initial talks. The LGA would be willing to host and facilitate this discussion, providing a foundation for cross-party working.

Public consensus
It is clear from our expert contributors below that the public is ready and willing to engage on the debate about the future of care and support and, more than that, offer clear views on possible solutions for the long-term. It is also clear that there are certain ‘rules of engagement’, which would aid the process of discussion and debate. These should be adhered to by our national politicians as part of the approach outlined above to foster cross-party consensus and/or cooperation:

  • All information must be clear, accessible and non-partisan
  • There must be no misleading information – all material should be evidenced and verifiable
  • Adults of all ages must be engaged, not just older people and not just those with experience of the system
  • There should be an equal balance between highlighting the pressures and problems of our social care system and highlighting the potential and positive of care and support

The onus cannot just be on our political leaders. As Jon Glasby highlighted in our previous think piece on funding options:

“If we demand a solution to the funding of adult social care, then resent the person or party who delivers what we asked for, we’re just as guilty as policy makers for failing to resolve these issues”

In short, resolving the long-term future of care and support for the benefit of current and future generations is something we are all responsible for.