Localise, localise or nationalise, nationalise: Making the case for a national long-term care funding system

Localise, localise or nationalise, nationale - making the care for a national long-term care funding system
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Date(s) - 19/04/2011
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Bupa House

A roundtable exploring the case for a nationally organised system for funding care and support in the context of the government’s localism agenda, organised by the Strategic Society Centre and Bupa Care Services.

Date and time: 4pm-6pm, 19th April, 2011

Location: Bupa House, 15-19 Bloomsbury Way, London, WC1A 2BA

Many stakeholders in the long-term care funding debate have come to believe that a shift to a national system of assessment and entitlement represents one of the key building-blocks of reform. The current system, which effectively amounts to a different long-term care funding system in each local authority, is perceived to generate a number of problems:

  • A ‘postcode lottery’ exists in the services and cash entitlements available to individuals in the form of Personal Budgets and Direct Payments.
  • Care users do not have portability of entitlements, and risk loss of support if they move home in order, for example, to be closer to family and kin.
  • The current system creates uncertainty for individuals regarding what they will receive, meaning they cannot plan adequately for the future, whether through financial arrangements or making provision for receipt of informal care.

Indeed, as public funding of social care moves away from a service-based offering to a cash-based system built around Personal Budgets, with friends and relatives able to directly compare the cash-amounts they have received, it will be increasingly difficult for policymakers to explain away the differing financial support to individuals living just streets apart.

Regardless of wider long-term care funding reform, the personalisation agenda will itself make the anomalies of the current system harder to justify, stoking pressure for change.

However, the politics of a move to a national system for funding care and support should not be underestimated: it will clip local authority autonomy and control, and shift the role of local authorities toward an emphasis on oversight, delivery and market-making. In short, creating a national system of care funding and entitlement will stand in marked contrast to the Coalition Government’s localism agenda.

This roundtable will therefore explore the questions:

  • What are the arguments for and against the move to a national system of long-term care funding assessment and entitlement?
  • How should such a reform be framed in the context of the government’s localism agenda?

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