November 28, 2018
Shift the thinking
As yet another national audit report highlights the lack of any real progress in the integration of health and social care, one can only speculate as to the root cause of the inertia that seems to afflict these huge bureaucracies. A new report just out from New Economics Foundation might shed some light on the way forward for the commissioners if they ever get round to thinking about how to engage with the 3rd sector. Rather than defaulting to the large scale social care providers, spare a thought for community enterprise.
The current debate about adult social care is centred on funding reform, which is urgently needed. But we will struggle to evaluate funding options in a meaningful way until we have determined how to improve the system. Our approach to social care is unsustainable, not least because we wait until care needs are acute before we address them.
Shifting towards sustainability requires innovation from creative people and organisations. Community businesses are beginning to step up to the plate. These are organisations, usually small in scale, that emerge when communities come together to address challenges they face. They are locally rooted, and trade for the benefit of, are accountable to, and have a positive impact on the local community. A small but growing number are using their knowledge of people and place to develop social care models.
This report seeks to meet the need among community businesses and other community led care models to communicate the role they can play in sustainable social care. It also aims to shed light on the perspectives of commissioners, who shape care markets alongside providers and citizens, and therefore play a part in determining that role.