The Government must fund the social care sector in order to place it on a ‘strong and sustainable’ footing, disability support providers say.
A new report published by Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG) has outlined three key challenges facing voluntary sector providers of adult social care, the combination of which makes the current level of funding insufficient.
The first is the increasing demand for services. By 2025 there will be 11.7 million disabled people in England who will require care. This also means there will be more older people in the future who will need disability-specific support.
The report, entitled True Costs: Why we cannot ignore the failure in social care funding, also cites the rising costs of providing services, and workforce recruitment and retention problems as serious challenges for the sector.
Drawing on research from Association of Directions of Adult Social Services (ADASS), the VODG report says since 2010 the cumulative adult social care savings have amounted to £6.3bn. These cuts ‘disproportionately’ affect voluntary sector providers because the people they support are mainly publicly funded.
Staff turnover is high and increasing in the adult social care sector, at 31% in 2016 up from 25% in 2015. This places the sector under considerable pressure.
The report also noted other factors which were putting the voluntary care sector in jeopardy. These included Brexit, the National Living Wage (NLW), and the requirement to provide NLW back-pay to sleep-in shift workers for up to six years.
‘The issue of squeezed funding, increasing demand, increasing costs and workforce challenges has wider ramifications,’ said VODG chief executive Dr Rhidian Hughes.
‘There will be a direct impact on the lives of disabled people as well as a knock-on effect on other public sector services such as the NHS.
‘The Government must develop a strong, sustainable funding plan for social care unless it wants to risk damaging both the quality and quantity of support services available to people who most rely on them.’