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By Debbie le Quesne

ADASS – its goals to be ‘smart’ with money and my fears

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The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services is encouraging members to make `every pound stretch further.’

In a message today reported on the Care Industry News website, incoming president David Pearson says: “We have a responsibility to make the public purse go as far as it can.

“Our achievement
 2.68 billion while at the same time implementing personalisation, supporting carers, tendering or re-tendering services, joining up services with the NHS, providing better advice, reducing infrastructure costs and exploring ways of building community capacity has been absolutely extraordinary.”

Smart working, I think they call it – and there’s now plenty of it about.

Mr Pearson urges honesty with the public about the challenges social care faces, but to balance this with the abundance of examples of creativity, partnership and innovation from across the country.

He also notes that councils have `clear responsibility’ to ensure home care providers play fair with staff citing that it’s the providers’
responsibility to ensure that basics such as the terms and conditions of employment and paying for travel time and costs are honoured.

What’s encouraging here is that he says in an ADASS survey of social care procurement, it show there is an increasingly clear responsibility for councils to understand the actual costs of care and take this into account in setting prices.

Mr Pearson singles out sector-led improvement (SLI) as a growing success story for social care: 93 per cent of local authorities now publish local
accounts, and points out that the opportunities for mutual learning are enormous. There are, he acknowledges, remaining questions about the
universality of take-up; the extent of SLI’s impact, and the transparency of some councils’ performance.

“This coming year we need to continue with the SLI programme in each region, enhance our transparency and measure the impact,” he says.

In all, lots of things I’d expect Mr Pearson to say, but at the risk of being boring and repeating myself again, and again and again . . . if we’re looking to save £2.68 billion as the new target, which the quote suggests, we are all in La La Land if ADASS really believes the private sector can bear the brunt of such restraint. When will anyone believe the industry is at breaking point over funding?

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