Radical reforms, including free personal care, ethical commissioning, enforced standards and good pay for care staff have been proposed by the IPPR thinktank.
The report, Ethical care: A bold reform agenda for adult social care, comes ahead of the release of the political parties’ manifestos ahead of the December General Election.
Harry Quilter-Pinner, IPPR Senior Research Fellow, said: “Every political leader for a generation has promised to solve the social care crisis but none have kept their word. This must change. All political parties should commit to introducing and fully funding free personal care, so social care is ‘free at the point of need’ just like the NHS.
“Money alone will not solve the problem. Our social care system needs bold reform. At IPPR, we are calling for all political parties to sign up to an ethical care charter. This would ensure that only providers that give their staff the living wage, deliver high quality care and pay their fair share of taxes in the UK get access to taxpayers’ money.”
Proposals include the introduction of free personal care through general taxation, combined with health and social care integration that could save the NHS up to £4.5bn a year.
A five-year, £2bn Social Care Transformation Fund, is also proposed to spread best practice care models, improving care quality and standards.
State funding social care providers should be required to pay at least the real living wage and a new system of collective bargaining for the workforce should be introduced to drive up working conditions, the IPPR says.
The IPPR also calls for the Care Certificate to become a “robust and mandatory for all care workers” as in nursing and social care.
The proposals also include an Ethical Commissioning Charter requiring private providers to meet basic standards on workforce pay and conditions, quality of care and financial management or face being replaced by state providers.