*Updated 04 April 2023*
We have set out measures to support people who receive care, and staff and providers of care.
This includes the publication of a refreshed plan to further digitise the social care sector and bolster the workforce, and more funding to speed up discharge from hospital.
Here's what you need to know about our plans.
What have you announced?
We have published Next Steps to Put People at the Heart of Care, which builds on commitments outlined in the People at the Heart of Care white paper - published in December 2021.
We've previously announced up to £7.5bn additional funding for ASC, which builds on an existing £1.7bn for reform, and today we set out plans for how over £2bn of that funding will be used to improve adult social care.
The plan sets out how we are taking forward reforms to support workforce development, enable sector digitisation, keep people independent at home, and improve local authority oversight and new data collections.
We are also increasing the Better Care Fund, which brings together health, social care and housing to help older people and those with complex needs live at home for longer.
This will increase from £7.7 billion last year to £8.1 billion in 2023 and £8.7 billion in 2024. This includes £1.6 billion to improve hospital discharge arrangements.
What is included in the social care reform package?
More than £2 billion of previously announced funding will go towards improvements including:
- A call for evidence in partnership on a new care workforce pathway - a new guide to the skills and experience staff need to give good care, and training routes to get skills for care - and funding for hundreds of thousands of training places, including a new Care Certificate qualification - aiming to increase opportunities for career progression and development, backed by £250 million
- More than £100 million investment over the next two years in digital social care records to enable secure sharing of information across health and care services - freeing up time for care staff and managers. This is on top of £50m already spent in this area.
- A new unit to explore creative solutions for improving care, such as supporting local authorities to reduce care assessment waiting times and using best practice from those areas where waiting times have already been cut by a third - backed by at least £35 million
- A £1.4 billion Market Sustainability and Improvement Fund that local authorities can use flexibly including to increase the rates paid to social care providers or reduce waiting times
- £102 million over two years to help make small but significant adaptations people need to remain at home, stay independent and avoid hospital - including grab rails and ramps, small repairs and safety and security checks
- £50 million to improve social care insight, data and quality assurance - including person-level data collections and new Care Quality Commission assessments of local authorities to improve poor performance on social care and identify where further support is needed
- £35 million over the next two years to target support to local areas through the Better Care Fund (BCF) Support Programme - providing tailored support to local areas to identify and tackle their most pressing challenges in a way that links health and social care
How is this different from the People at the Heart of Care white paper?
- The plan sets out further information on when we will deliver specific proposals and how much funding we are providing.
- The plan also includes several significant commitments that were not in the white paper, such as an Innovation and Improvement unit, the Older People's Housing taskforce and support for international recruitment.
- The government remains fully dedicated to the 10-year vision for adult social care set out in the People at the Heart of Care white paper.
How are you delivering your workforce commitments?
The Prime Minister has recently reiterated the importance of reforming the adult social care workforce, with a focus on professional development, skills and career progression. Our £250 million investment in the workforce remains the biggest part of our reform package.
- This includes a new national framework which will define the skills, values and behaviours needed to perform different roles in social care.
- And we will be providing funding for hundreds of thousands of training places to give care workers the opportunity to develop new skills and support them to deliver high-quality, personalised care.
- The plan sets out how we are spending £700 million of our overall investment of over £2 billion in reform.
- The priorities for this government are making sure that people have access to the right care, in the right place, at the right time. This has meant a need to review certain policy areas to focus on these priorities.
- We have been working closely with stakeholders and the sector to design our reforms, and we continue to do so.
Are you halving the workforce funding?
- It is not true to say we are halving funding for social care. No funding announced for adult social care has been removed from the sector or re-allocated to the NHS.
- The prime minister has recently reiterated the importance of reforming the adult social care workforce with a focus on professional development, skills and career progression, and our £250 million investment in the workforce remains the biggest part of our reform package.
- Our remaining funding, up to £600 million, has not yet been allocated. We are considering how best to use this funding, including further investment in workforce, and will target this remaining funding on measures that will have the most impact.
How is the funding being allocated?
- No funding announced for adult social care has been removed from the sector or re-allocated to the NHS.
- Of the funding set out alongside the white paper, up to £600 million has not yet been allocated. We will target this remaining funding on measures that will have the most impact over the next two years, taking on board lessons learnt from investment in improving hospital discharge.
- We've previously announced up to £7.5bn additional funding for ASC, which builds on an existing £1.7bn for reform, and today we set out plans for how over £2bn of that funding will be used to improve adult social care.
How are you supporting integrated housing?
- The Next Steps plan highlights how important the right housing arrangements are in supporting people to live independently, and we remain committed to supporting people to live behind their own front door wherever possible.
- We are launching the Older Peoples' Housing Taskforce.
- This will bring together experts from across the sector to make recommendations on how we make sure that older people have a better choice of accommodation to suit their needs and preferences.
- We are also continuing to provide funding to support people to remain independent at home: In addition to the £573m invested annually in the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG), we are making £102m of new money available for local housing authorities to increase their funding for Home Adaptations.
How are you supporting unpaid carers?
- We will be investing up to £25 million for unpaid carers, in line with our funding commitment in the People at the Heart of Care white paper. Further detail will be set out in due course.
- Over £290 million of Better Care Fund funding in 2022-23 has been earmarked to support unpaid carers, including for short breaks and respite services.
- The government is also supporting a Private Members' Bill, which will introduce a new entitlement to one week of Carer's leave as a day 1 right.
- Up to now, there has been a lack of oversight of how well local authorities are delivering social care, which makes genuine accountability and transparency difficult to achieve. CQC assessments, which will roll out this month will allow the public and the government to better understand how well local authorities are delivering their Care Act responsibilities, including those related to meeting needs and assessing carers needs.