The new president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) has urged social care leaders to drive forward the integration of social care with housing and accommodation.
Speaking at the ADASS Spring Seminar yesterday in her first speech as president, Julie Ogley said social care’s relationship with housing is as important as its relationship with health.
“In the absence of the Green Paper I would encourage colleagues nationally and locally to focus on housing and accommodation – lifetime homes, homes for people with care and support needs and their carers or PAs, a safe home for people who have been in an abusive relationship, just a roof over your head for some people,” she said.
Addressing delegates, Ogley, who is also the director of Social Care, Health and Housing at Central Bedfordshire Council, said: “Are you confident that councils in their local plans are focusing on the right type of housing for their current and future populations? Across all tenures we need people to be living in accommodation that meets their changing needs.
“It takes time and evidence to influence local plans, but if we could have a better offer for older people so that they moved from their large houses, think about the impact this would have, and I don’t just mean people living in social housing – as I said across all tenures.
“I would encourage you to be talking with your housing colleagues and experts, such as the Housing LIN.”
Commenting on the current social care agenda, Ogley said that a decade of austerity has found the sector “serving less people, with a fragile care market, a fragile workforce with no national workforce strategy, unsustainable funding without a settlement but increasingly reliant on one-off grant funding”.
This is further compounded by the impact on people’s wellbeing from welfare reforms, homelessness and rough sleeping, as the sector prepares for the government’s long awaited green paper on its future, she said.
However despite these constraints, adult social care has “a very skilled, committed workforce that comes to work every day to improve people’s lives,” Ogley told the conference.
“I’m impressed by what colleagues have achieved with limited resources around prevention and moving to asset/strength-based community approaches,” she added.
Going forward, Ogley said ADASS members want to see the organisation as a key influencer in the policy arena and promised to seek answers for big unanswered questions, such as why isn’t all of the adult social care workforce salaried? And why isn’t there a national agreement about how adult social care is to be funded, so that it’s sustainable?
“We are a very credible advocate for social care and recognised as experts and leaders. Therefore, we’re increasing the capacity of the central team and in our regions,” she said.