Options strongly supports the recommendations of the House of Lords report ‘A Gloriously Ordinary Life: Spotlight on Adult Social Care’.
Earlier this year, Options responded to a parliamentary inquiry examining the invisibility of adult social care. Last week, the House of Lords published the result of this inquiry, a report called ‘A gloriously ordinary life: spotlight on adult social care’.
Options strongly supports the recommendations in the report, many of which we advocated for in our response to the inquiry.
Perceptions of social care
Firstly, we welcome the recognition that work needs to be done to shift the public perception of social care. Social care is ‘the subject of misconceptions among the general public, who often do not realise the diverse, versatile and positive role that the sector plays in society’.
Too often, social care is perceived as ‘intended to support those who can’t support themselves: a burden on resources that is synonymous with decline and crisis’. This is by no means a true reflection of the transformative and enabling role social care plays in the lives of those who need it. We know that with the right support, people can lead full and meaningful lives.
This narrative of social care contributes to a stigma that ‘people with disabilities are somehow not capable of exercising choice and control over their lives’. We know this is fundamentally untrue. We believe that one of the most powerful ways to challenge this stigma is to share stories celebrating the amazing things people we support do.
Funding Adult Social Care
We also welcome the recognition that social care must become a ‘national imperative’, reflected in appropriate funding.
We agree that ‘there is no doubt that underfunding has led to the rationing of care, restricted choice and loss of quality of life’. In order to enable people to live full lives, social care must be adequately funded by central Government and support must be commissioned in a way that reflects what really matters to those who rely on it.
We strongly endorse the notion that ‘the Government must prioritise a comprehensive long-term national workforce and skills plan for adult social care, including a commitment to remedy low pay in the sector’.
The fantastic work our staff do is undervalued and not reflected in the wages they receive. Options will continue to advocate for a better-funded social care system, in which staff are rewarded and recognised for the important and highly skilled nature of the work they do.
Finally, we agree that ‘the greatest risk is not to change’.
There is an urgent need for significant change in both the perception and funding of adult social care. ‘Without fundamentally changing our appreciation of the role of adult social care as a critical service for people and communities, and as a key investment in our society and economy, any attempt to reform the sector will falter’.
As an organisation, we strongly endorse the recommendations made by the House of Lords. We hope they will continue to work with providers like Options and people with lived experience in the future.