Adult Social Care Committee publishes call for evidence
4 April 2022
The Adult Social Care Committee today publishes its call for evidence, inviting the public to provide their views on what needs to change to create a fair, resilient and sustainable care system that better enables everyone to ‘live an ordinary life’, and in so doing, to have greater choice and control over their lives.
The Committee is particularly keen to receive submissions from experts by experience – those who draw on care and support, and those who care for them.
The deadline for submissions is Friday, 27 May.
Adult social care provides services for people from young to old; from those with inherited disabilities from birth to those who become ill, frail and dependent as they move into later life. Across these many different conditions and personal circumstances, people with care needs rely for much of their support, care and independence on carers; and in many ways, both the people who draw on care and support and their carers are largely invisible.
The inquiry will, therefore, consider how that entrenched invisibility of adult social care impacts on the lives of people who draw on care and support and lives of the people who enable them and care for them. It will explore what needs to change to create a fair, resilient and sustainable care system that better enables everyone to ‘live and ordinary life’, and in so doing, to have greater choice and control over their lives. In doing so, it will acknowledge the diversity of ambitions and aspirations that individuals with specific care needs have for their lives across every age, and consider how adult social care should best enable them to achieve these different goals.
The Committee will focus on three key issues:
- The invisibility of adult social care, and its consequences;
- Better support for carers; and
- Putting co-production at the heart of care.
Baroness Andrews, Chair of the Committee, said:
“While people understand by experience what the health service does, very few people understand what adult social care is, how it works and why it matters, until they themselves or their family are directly affected.
“This relative ‘invisibility’ means that it can be difficult to bring about positive change on the ground, not least because so much is so far from sights.
“In launching this inquiry, our main purpose is to understand and recognise how this invisibility can be dismantled and how those who draw on different types of support and care at different ages can fulfil their aspirations for a full life, as well as their families and friends who care for them.
“By listening and learning from those who will share their experience and expertise with us, we also seek to reflect on what the meaning of social care should be, and ask how far the system remains from realising that meaning in the everyday lives of people who draw on care and their families.
“We encourage a wide range of witnesses to come forward and submit evidence, particularly those with lived experience, in the full knowledge that your views are valued and will have an impact on the future of adult social care in England.”
The invisibility of adult social care, and its consequences
- One of the fundamental challenges facing adult social care is that it is ‘invisible’. Do you agree? What do you think explains this?
- What are the key changes that need to be made to reduce the invisibility of adult social care?
- How does this invisibility reflect the experience of social care for people who draw on care and support and their carers, and how is this experience different depending on the age range and particular circumstances of those who draw on care and support and their carers?
- How would you define the purpose of adult social care? How does the invisibility of adult social care get in the way of achieving this purpose?
- To what extent does the definition of the purpose of adult social care differ for younger and for older adults? How can future reform of the adult social care system best address these differences?
- What are the key challenges that people who draw on care and support and carers will face in the future, which are not factored into current assumptions related to the social care system, for example the fact that some families will age without children to care for them? How are these challenges different for younger and for older adults who draw on care? What should be done now to address them?
- How can other public services (such as the NHS) play their part in tackling the invisibility of adult social care?
- What effect has the COVID-19 pandemic had on adult social care?
Better support for unpaid carers
- What, in addition to the support that has already been pledged by the Government, would be the most effective thing that could be done to raise the profile, as well as to improve the identification and support of carers? What examples exist to demonstrate that better identifying and supporting of carers leads to better outcomes for those for whom they care?
- How can carers who wish to do so be better enabled to stay in work or rejoin the workforce? What needs to change to achieve this?
- What are the key priorities for carers in terms of their own support, wellbeing and resilience? How and where can these best be provided?
- To what extent do carers make use of alternative forms of support, such as the voluntary community? Is there any scope for them to draw on those assets more and how might they be enabled to do that? Are there examples where this happens successfully now?
- How valued and respected are carers in the overall adult social care system and what are the consequences of failing to value and respect them?
- What can be done to make sure that social care professionals recognise the expertise of carers and value them as full and equal partners in care, who are included as part of the whole team, so that there is greater synergy between paid and unpaid care?
- Why is the current system so difficult for carers? What needs to be put in place so that carers can simply understand what is available to them as a right and discretion, and the person they support? Do you know of good practice examples? How can these examples be expanded more widely across the system?
Putting co-production at the heart of care
- To what extent are the voices of people who draw on care and support and carers shaping the design and delivery of social care, irrespective of their age or circumstances? If these voices are not sufficiently heard, what is the impact of this on those who draw on care and support and carers?
- It is often difficult for people who draw on care and support and carers to exercise choice and control if they do not know what good support looks like or what kinds of care and support might be available. What information and support could be helpful to address this and how could it be made available more easily?
- We recognise that people with long-term conditions require different support at different points in their lives and that transitions, such as a change in health needs, moving from children to adult services, leaving education, starting a job or moving home, can be particularly challenging. Can you describe the key moments of transition from your experience? How have the formal processes worked during these periods of transition? What could or should have been in place to make these transition moments easier?
- What does truly co-produced care look like for younger and for older people with differing challenges and needs? Have you got any good examples to share?
- How can we design care and support arrangements which work both for the person drawing on care and support and for those who care for them?
- How can people who draw on care and support and carers both be involved in the planning of future services?