So the Social Care White Paper is here. The politics is all about the cap and costs. There will be plenty more comment and discussion of the pros and cons of the new system, which is better than the support with care costs that was there before (nothing for most people), but which is also not enough, and not fair enough on those with modest incomes and assets. The big new money (or small new money if you compared it to funding settlements for the NHS) goes to new forms of housing, adapting existing housing, and digital (no surprises there). But what about Shared Lives you ask? First up, Mollie & Mae tell their Shared Lives story prominently on the government’s campaign site on innovation. Mollie and Mae spoke to Care Minister @GillianKeegan a few weeks ago and Mollie has written to the Prime Minister asking to meet him too. It’s great to see our members’ work recognised as a key form of innovation.
The White Paper itself says gives Shared Lives as a “scaled up” example of social care offering “greater fexibility and more community-based care” (p46).
The £30m Innovative Models of Care Programme will support councils to embed & mainstream “innovative models of care.” We’ve discussed at length our learning on how to scale innovation with the White Paper team. We hope to see some strong bids from councils and Shared Lives and Homeshare providers for that money and we will be talking with local areas about how to make best use of this rare opportunity for change. The debate about how to pay and who pays for social care will ebb and flow, but meanwhile people will continue to live in and use social care services and it is the quality, the values and the creativity of those services which will make those experiences happy or miserable. The UK is a world leader in forms of support which are expert at bringing people together and bringing people joy – this needs to be the moment we embed them at the heart of the new system.