The CLG Committee is a powerful cross-party group of MPs, and this is a rare and fantastic opportunity for carers and a Network Partner member to speak directly to MPs about their experiences.
Peter Turner, the CEO of Network Partner member Carers First in Kent and Medway, and two carers from the service will give their oral evidence to the Committee today (Wednesday 16 November) from 9.45am.
Carers Trust's submission to the CLG Committee
Our response in August 2016 to the Communities and Local Government Committee Adult social care inquiry, has enabled a Carers Trust Network Partner to talk directly to MPs.
The important areas in our submission, which formed the basis of the invitation to the Committee were:
- Carers are providing an increasing amount of unpaid care, saving the NHS and social care c£132bn a year.
- Weak or poor social care support frequently results in carers giving up work to care, with a loss to the Exchequer of c£1.3bn. Carers are not, however, "cost-free". They require care and support in their own right to enable them to care without risking their work, health and wellbeing.
- Carers Trust believe the Care Act has the potential to have a positive impact on carers, however the Care Act will only fully realise its potential if the social care system in England is given a secure financial grounding.
- Spend on prevention and early intervention is in retreat. Councils, working with the NHS, need to prioritise investment in preventing carer breakdown to avoid even greater cost to social services and the NHS.
- Carers Trust Network Partners provide the majority of local carer services, however many are experiencing significant pressures, including destabilising tendering processes which create uncertainty across this strategically important sector.
- Local authorities can have a stronger impact on both local carers support services, and the carers they support, through stronger commissioning and by judiciously utilising tendering as one of a range of approaches to transforming services. Where tendering is used, strong engagement with carers and longer contracts can help create stability.
- The impact of the National Living Wage (NLW) on providers. A survey of Carers Trust's Network Partners found that six out of seven predicted they will have to reduce the levels of service they provide in order to pay their staff the NLW, if funding for social care is not increased. Five out of seven feared for the viability of their entire organisation. Although the 2% council tax precept is welcome, it is not enough for local authorities to cover the full cost of implementing the NLW.