Social care  

Govt launches social care taskforce

Govt launches social care taskforce

Health secretary Matt Hancock has announced the launch of a social care task force to support the sector through the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at the daily Downing Street briefing yesterday (June 8), Mr Hancock said the National Covid-19 Social Care Support taskforce would lead the next phase of the government's response to the virus as it continues to ease lockdown measures.

The taskforce will be led by David Pearson, a former chief of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services.

Mr Pearson said: “Social care has a crucial role to play in supporting the people who receive care and support and their carers, and our job is to harness our efforts as we go through the various phases of this pandemic and support social care in its crucial role."

But a representative body for independent care providers wants the taskforce to go beyond coronavirus and help shape the future of the sector.

The Independent Care Group chairman Mike Padgham said: “An expert-led task force is something we have called for for many years, as a way to take social care forward.

“We are delighted to see this new task force announced and hope it works swiftly to not only help everyone who is looked after by social care through coronavirus, but also to look at the whole future of social care and guide it into a more sustainable future, with better funding and parity with the NHS.”

Reform of social care, particularly the funding thereof, has been a long running issue with the government which was meant to publish a green paper in summer 2018 but has so far failed to do so.

However, it did outline a three-point plan in the December Queen's Speech, which included an additional £1bn for councils in every year of the parliament, with the government pledging to consult on a 2 per cent precept that would enable councils to access a further £500m for adult social care for 2020-2021.

Meanwhile the industry has come up with a number of suggestions including a Care Isa and Care pension but so far nothing seems to have been picked up by government.

Another suggestion from a think tank was to use the Covid-19 crisis to highlight issues in the sector and to push for the government to remove the “historic funding barrier” between the NHS and social care.

The Policy Exchange suggested new measures should be introduced in the tax system to fund social care and allow it to be largely free at the point of use for older and working age people who require long-term care.

amy.austin@ft.com

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