The National Audit Office has recently published the first in a series of report upon the (not entirely happy) picture of Adult Social Care in England. It details increasing pressures on the system: adults with long-term and multiple health conditions and disabilities are living longer; demand for services is rising while public spending falls; and there is unmet need for care. As the NAO notes, whilst the need for care continues to rise, local authorities’ spending on adult social care fell by 8 per cent in real terms between 2010-11 and 2012-13. As the NAO notes:

“The adult care system is changing significantly and rapidly. The Department for Communities and Local Government is expecting local efficiency initiatives, service transformation and the Better Care Fund to help local government manage financial pressures. However, there is weak evidence for which ways of commissioning and providing services are the most cost-effective. The Care Bill will introduce significant changes for local authorities which will be challenging to plan for because of a lack of information, lack of evidence on what works and short timescales.”

It warns that:

“while the Department of Health and the Department for Communities and Local Government are working together to understand the cumulative implications of changes to, and reduced spending on, health and social care, welfare and related local services, other departments are not. For example, changes to benefits for adults with disabilities and their carers will put further strain on care users’ ability to pay for their own care and for informal carers to provide support.”