Nuffield Trust response to new NAO report on social care

Natasha Curry responds to the new NAO report on reforming adult social care in England.

Press release

Published: 10/11/2023

Responding to the National Audit Office report Reforming adult social care in England, Nuffield Trust Deputy Director of Policy Natasha Curry said:

“The NAO report paints a bleak picture of the state of reform in the adult social care sector and is a damning indictment of the government’s progress towards delivering change. Despite bold promises, we have seen social care yet again deprioritised.

“Against the laudable aspirations set out in the 2021 social care white paper, progress has been glacial, with budgets significantly underspent and most projects behind schedule. Major parts of reform plans, such as changes to how people are charged for care, were derailed by the need to redirect funding to cover immediate inflationary pressures, and plans to improve services have stalled. The multitude of problems in the sector persist: unstable provider markets, long waiting lists, workforce shortages, and most importantly people struggling to access the care and support they need.

“Unstable sporadic funding has continued a pattern of short-termism and has undermined any attempts at long-term strategic planning. This has been compounded by a lack of a coherent plan for how to achieve the ambitions set out. This is a far cry from the ‘fix’ to social care pledged in the government’s 2019 manifesto.

“We have repeatedly called for a long-term vision for adult social care, backed with a clear strategy for how to get there, and crucially, the funding certainty that moves away from short-term pots and gives the sector the stability it so desperately needs. Today’s report adds further weight to that call.”

Notes to editors

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