Response to the plan for health & social care
The Government has released some long-awaited details of its plan for social care. In this article, we pick out a few of the areas that PPL is readying itself to help with.
Although there are many details to come, we now have an idea of the shape of some of the changes that will be coming to social care over the next few years. Here are some of the things that caught our eye at PPL:
1. Cap on care costs – From October 2023, the amount that people will need to spend on personal care over their lifetime will be capped at £86,000. Interestingly, we invested a lot of effort in working with a group of our local authority clients to design and build solutions for exactly this “seismic” change several years ago, in anticipation of care accounts being introduced via the 2014 Care Act. There will be a lot of fine print to work through, such as the definitions of ‘personal care’ and ‘daily living costs’; the interplay between ‘notional’ costs and ‘actual’ costs; and the impact of inflationary movements over time. One of the challenges is that many people that were previously not ‘known’ to social care will now want to interact with the system, in order to ‘start the clock running’. We will be dusting down the work that we did previously and can now see an entirely digital, self-serve solution, sitting outside of the Local Authorities' social care systems, where individuals can go through an online needs assessment and financial assessment and then maintain a ‘care account’ which tracks their progress towards the cap - the aim being that local authorities do not need to scale up their internal resources to meet this new approach. An interesting by-product of such a solution will be that it will provide local authorities with useful demand planning information (i.e. how quickly are people going to reach their cap).
2. New means-testing regime – The new upper capital limit of £100,000 will result in many more people being eligible for some means-tested, local authority support. It seems obvious that this influx in demand should be met with a ‘digital first’ solution, and our online needs and financial assessment tools are well-placed to manage this. Beyond this, there is an opportunity for local authorities to rewrite their offer for these people, with self-service at the forefront, so that the default offer is a direct payment which can be easily managed via our Virtual Wallet solution.
3. Self-funder parity – This hasn’t been picked up by the mainstream media, but the assertion that “we will ensure that self-funders are able to ask their local authority to arrange their care for them so they can find better value care” will create new challenges for commissioners. Market development, eMarketplaces, quoting systems and data on prices may all be relevant, and we will be working with our clients to model how they see this working in practice and how we can configure our solutions to help them.
Finally, it is heartening to see that offering choice and control is cited as the first objective for the forthcoming White Paper, for a “once in a generation transformation to adult social care”. This has sat at the heart of everything we have done since we started out in 2008, and – with the expansion in number of people in the social care system – our digital solutions for information, advice & guidance, personal assistant recruitment and personal budget management are well-placed to help meet this aspiration.
Whilst we await the White Paper later this year, we will be starting work with local authorities, stakeholders and partners to get ready as October 2023 is only 24 months away. If you would like to know more or be involved, get in touch.