Care system must provide safety net, says commission


The care and support system must continue to provide a “safety net” for disabled and older people with “the lowest means and highest needs”, according to the commission examining how to reform its long-term funding.

The Commission on Funding of Care and Support said evidence suggested “significant levels of unmet need”, and it raised concerns over the complexity of the current system, and the low public awareness of how it works.

The commission was giving its first views on the current system as it issued a call for evidence on how the problem should be tackled.

The members of the commission made it clear that any reforms should promote the “personalisation” of care and support, which has given people “choice and control, and power to determine the outcomes they want”.

But it warned that the reformed system should be a “partnership”, with both individuals and the state continuing to contribute to the costs.

The commission also referred again to the “tensions” between calls for a national entitlement to support and the need for decisions on services to be taken by local authorities.

The commission said the current system was “responsive to local needs”, as local authorities can react to “local conditions” by allocating resources according to “local priorities”, although this “can be perceived by some as inequitable”.

Baroness [Jane] Campbell has already spoken of the crucial need for “portability”, which would allow disabled people to take their support packages with them if they moved to a different local authority area.

And she has criticised Andrew Dilnot, the chair of the commission, for suggesting there was a potential conflict between portability and the need for local decision-making.

In publishing the call for evidence this week, Dilnot said: “Access to new ideas and perspectives is critical if we are to find a lasting solution to a sustainable and resilient care system – both in terms of funding and delivery.”

The call for evidence will be open until 28 January 2011. For more details, visit:

2 December 2010