This model resolution was drafted by Reclaim Social Care, the new national campaign in association with Health Campaigns Together.
We have a national campaign for the NHS – Health Campaigns Together (HCT). It includes Keep Our NHS Public (KONP), which has an active group in Birmingham and the West Midlands. But there hasn’t been a similar national campaign for Social Care, until Reclaim Social Care was launched at a national conference in Birmingham in November last year, in association with HCT.
Social Care is the largest sector of local Councils’ spending on public services. Birmingham spends £336m on its Health and Social Care portfolio out of a total spend of £855m – that’s 39%. The Council has contracts with about 350 care homes.
Social Care is also a major sector of the economy. There are 165,000 social care workers in the West Midlands – 77% of them in the private sector, 7.5% employed directly by local authorities. The large majority of social care workers are women in low-paid jobs.
You can read a full report of the Reclaim Social Care conference and lots more in the January issue of the HCT newspaper at https://healthcampaignstogether.com/socialcare.php.
Below is a model resolution drafted by Reclaim Social Care for submitting to Labour Party branches, the National Policy Commission and to union and other bodies.
Social Care and Support
England’s social care system is broken. Local Authorities face £700m cuts to care in 2018-19. With £7 billion slashed since 2010, 26% fewer older people are receiving support, while demand grows.
Personal care is largely privatised, doesn’t reflect users’ needs and wishes, whilst charges increase.
Consequences include isolation, indignity, maltreatment. Disabled and elderly people face barriers to inclusion and independent living, thousands feel neglected. 8 million unpaid, overworked family carers, including children and elderly relatives, provide vital support.
Most care is privatised. Public money goes to shareholders and hedgefunds as profits. Service users and families face instability as companies go bust overnight.
Staff wages, training and conditions are pared to the bone. Annual staff turnover is over 30%.
Conference demands Labour deliver social care and support:
- Free at the point of use
- Fully funded through progressive taxation
- Subject to national standards ensured by councils
- Publicly provided through local authorities and the NHS in partnership
- Locally accountable and designed by service users in partnership with councils and the NHS, delivered as far as possible by service users
- Addressing the aims, aspirations and choices of all users not just basic needs
- Providing staff with training, qualifications, career structure, and decent pay and conditions
- Giving informal carers the rights and support they need.
Labour should set up a taskforce to develop a universal care and support service working with user groups, in collaboration with a national independent living service and available to all on basis of need, based on article 19 of the UNCRPD.
(UNCRPD is the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities)