Submitted by: Federal Policy Committee
Mover: Daisy Cooper MP (Spokesperson for Health and Social Care)
Summation: Baroness Jolly (Chair of the Policy Working Group)
Conference believes that:
- Social care is an essential service, comparable to healthcare or education
- Everyone has a right to access high quality care, regardless of their ability to pay
- Carers, paid and unpaid, deserve a fair deal
- Children in care or at risk of being taken into care also deserve a great start in life so they have the support, relationships, skills and knowledge they need to succeed.
Conference condemns a string of broken Conservative promises on social care, including:
- The Conservatives’ 2019 promise that no one should have to sell their home to pay for their care, when many people will have to do just that
- Watering down their commitment to the cap on lifetime care costs making it harder for poorer people to afford the cost of care
- Failing to implement the provisions of the Care Act since 2015
- In 2019 committing to a cross-party consensus on social care, and refusing any meaningful engagement with other parties
- The 2019 pledge to fix social care ‘once and for all’ with all serious reform reversed or delayed until 2025
- Failure to address the unnecessary occupancy of thousands of acute hospital beds by people awaiting a suitable care package with consequential ambulance delays, hospital treatment delays and unnecessary suffering, with sometimes tragic consequences, for hundreds of people each week.
- Their failure to grasp the scale of the crisis in children’s social care, committing less than a tenth of the more than £2 billion that the Government-commissioned Independent Review of Children’s Social Care says is necessary for whole system reform.
Conference therefore endorses policy paper 150 A More Caring Society, in particular its proposals to:
- Ensure everyone has access to social care, regardless of their ability to pay by introducing Free Personal Care, based on the system introduced in Scotland by the Liberal Democrat-Labour government
- Build on the Liberal Democrat-led Care Act to move towards full personalisation of social care services so people have choice and control over the way their care is planned and delivered
- Move towards a preventative approach to social care, so people can stay in their own homes for longer
- Establish the UK as a leader in the sensitive use of emerging assistive and telecare technologies, harnessing. IT, robotics, and AI to improve the quality of care and prolong independence.
- Introduce a National Care Agency, which will set national standards and give the social care sector long term leadership
- Deliver effective integration of health and social care services by:
- Putting people first over institutional restructuring
- Empowering local government to integrate services from the bottom up, rather than from the top-down
- Utilise local partnerships to develop short-stay convalescence and rehabilitation provision in community hospitals, or other transitional care centres, sufficient to end unnecessary acute bed occupancy and better prepare patients to return home.
- Introduce a long term plan for the social care workforce, including:
- Introducing a real living wage for care workers
- Investing in skills, professionalisation and accreditation of the workforce
- Replicating NHS pay bands with clear career progression for social care workers
- Introducing a national register of care workers and the creation of a college for social care comparable to to the Royal Colleges for nursing and midwives
- Deliver a fair deal for unpaid carers by:
- Adding being an unpaid carer to the list of protected characteristics under the Equality Act
- Providing unpaid carers with greater rights in the workplace and more broadly, for example, the right for employees to take at least one week's unpaid carer's leave each year
- Introducing a range of financial benefits to those providing care
- Improve how government departments and public service providers communicate and work together to support unpaid carers
- Increasing the training and accreditation of skills available to unpaid carers
- Giving all young carers a legally enforceable ‘Education Guarantee’ and a right to a normal childhood
- Conference further calls on the Government to support the 150,000 children in England being raised by grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, other relatives or friends (known as kinship carers), by:
- Providing all kinship carers with a weekly allowance for each child they care for, equivalent to the national minimum weekly allowance for foster carers.
- Giving kinship carers the right to paid employment leave when a child starts living with them on terms equivalent to those for adoptive parents.
- Supporting the education of children in kinship care, such as by making them eligible for Pupil Premium Plus and amending the school admissions code so that children in kinship care are given a higher priority when a school is oversubscribed.
- Creating a statutory definition of kinship care and establishing a passporting process through which kinship carers may prove to a public body that they are entitled to the support listed above.
Conference also reaffirms pledges in motion Standing Up for Unpaid Carers (March 2021) to support unpaid carers.
Applicability: England except for 8 which is Federal.