Local Authorities have a statutory duty to assist people who by reason of age, illness or disability are in need of care. This is generally known as adult social care and mainly covers people with severe disabilities and the elderly.
Local Authorities must assess the person’s care needs and provide appropriate care. This will either be residential accommodation or community based services such as day centres and carers visiting the person’s home.
The Communities and Local Government Select Committee in Parliament are currently conducting an inquiry into the financial crisis in adult social care and the quality of care provided.
The evidence being given to the inquiry is that adult social care has reached a tipping point.
This is largely due to a huge increase in demand due to increasing numbers of people living beyond the age 85. Another contributing factor are the cuts of up to 40% in Local Authority funding since 2010. This is exacerbated by a reduction in beds in the NHS and nursing homes.
While there is a huge increase in need and demand, the numbers of people receiving assistance is now in decline. It is estimated that there are a million people who need assistance but are not receiving any support.
Care providers are finding that they cannot provide good care within budget and are handing residential care homes back to the Local Authority.