Social Care: On the ropes?

On the ropes like a wrestler

Summerslam has been and gone but another battle still rages. That being the battle for Social Care stability and the struggle against continual cuts and increased demand. Social Care is on the ropes and we know it, but do not want to accept it.

The word "government" screams stability, but in reality it whispers vulnerability. We want to see the government in its central or local form as having the resources available to protect us, whether that be overseas or at home. When we reach retirement age (whenever that may be) we want to be reassured that our years of sacrifice will be rewarded.

That dream is becoming somewhat muddied now and the future lays uncertain at our feet, but how did we get here?

The Credit Crunch

The ‘credit crunch’ of 2008 can arguably be placed as the catalyst for the reduction in spending that has translated into a troubled future. The collapse of the banking system and subsequent troubles that we now see ourselves in emerged from this era.

The government had to step in to prevent a catastrophe and this is when they realised that the situation could not be allowed to continue. Austerity has reigned supreme since 2010 to address the imbalance in the country’s finances. This has translated into a 49.1% real-terms funding reduction in government spending, and corresponds to a 28.6% real-terms reduction in spending power.

To further handcuff local authorities, they are unable to raise money themselves through council tax to fill in the gaps. This is due to a referendum process that does not favour the authority in question. This obviously benefits the citizen looking to save money but hampers those who need help. A safe bet in life is that we will all, at some point be touched by Social Care, whether for ourselves or for a relative.

Benjamin Franklin once said that there are two certainties in life, death and taxes. We feel as though in the UK that is not true, there are three certainties, death, taxes and Social Care. You will at some point cross paths with the system, whether directly or indirectly and we would argue that you would rightly push for the best service possible.

Social Care is a frontline service and whilst the NHS is a pearl of the British people, it also distracts attention away from the systemic problems facing the system in this country.

What can be done?

Efficiency drives and political realisation.

The demand for services will continue to increase and proper investment needs to take place now and not in ten years’ time. The NHS has been promised an additional £20bn over the next ten years, but we all know that this is not enough. Couple this with the knowledge that there has been no big spending boost announced for Social Care by the Prime Minister, and you hold your head in your hands.  

What further cut backs can be made?
The Green Paper of course can change this but at present there has been no boost announced. This is leaving leaders across the country scratching their heads as they have had no extra funding announced and cannot raise extra capital easily. Some authorities have even had to shut down, apart from offering essential services.

Local authorities need to keep pace and be up to speed with the latest advances and means in which to assist people. They cannot do this at the pace required for Digital 2020 if their budgets are continually cut.

Digital services such as our Eclipse case management solution have been proven to save time and money. These efficiencies allow local authorities to get more from what they are given. Then in five years’ time when the government has realised its mistake and provided local authorities with additional funding, the efficiencies created now will underpin a lasting Social Care system. This new system, that will be effectively funded and have the technology needed to create efficiencies, will be self-sustaining.

At least two things need to take place:

  1. Investment in the Social Care (Not just Health)

  2. Efficiencies need to be found and barriers broken down in the care setting.

Having a cash injection every five years is not sustainable for a country moving into an uncertain, BREXIT dominated future. We need to act now. Local authorities need to create efficiencies through technological advancement that will underpin a new system.

The government needs to act at the same time and relieve the pressures on the system before the crash at councils spreads. Increases in homelessness, an ageing population and children needng care are pushing against the system. It is time to break down the barriers, and invest in prevention.

The figures continue to increase with no valve to relieve the pressure. We need the government to act and we need them to act with the Green Paper. Technological efficiencies are only one piece of the puzzle.

A Murky Future

The future of Social Care is not bright, it is not orange. It is in fact murky.

It is on the ropes like a wrestler unsure of which move to choose next. Localis recently produced a report on this, which suggested that, ‘Were it not for financial constraints, we suggest, quality of life may well have increased significantly for the elderly and vulnerable across the country.’

The report went on to suggest that, ‘As it stands, growth in wellbeing has been supressed by the ever-increasing need to balance and rebalance priorities under the stricture of austerity’. We could not agree more with these statements and work with local authorities to create technological solutions that lay the smack down on austerity. We want to give back and help authorities make the most of their dwindling finances.

We want to help you make the most of your finances and ease the pressures that have been placed upon you. To this end, we are offering a free no obligation demonstration of all of our solutions and look forward to hearing from you.

We are OLM.