Under our Terms of Reference we were asked to agree with Government the criteria by which we will assess future options for the funding of care and support. We’ve now agreed the following criteria:
- Sustainable and resilient: ensuring the costs to the state are sustainable in the long-term, and the care and support system is able to respond to demographic, economic, political, and societal change
- Fairness: for individuals, families, carers and wider society
- Choice: offering an affordable choice to individuals, carers and families across a range of care settings, and helping people to prepare and plan for their future
- Value for Money: securing the highest quality care outcomes with the available resources
- Ease of use and understanding: making the system as clear and simple as possible for people, supporting people to take responsibility for their future wellbeing
These criteria build on the four criteria that the Government originally outlined in the Terms of Reference for the Commission. We have expanded the sustainability criterion by adding the concept of resilience, as we believe that for any funding system to be sustainable it will need to be able to adapt to future change.
We have also decided to add a further criterion focusing on ease of use and understanding. Currently, many people are not aware of how the current system works – mistakenly believing social care is free at the point of use, like health care, and paid for through National Insurance contributions. This means people often don’t plan or prepare for the future costs they may face. We also understand that those using care and support services, and their friends, families and carers, can sometimes find the system complicated to understand and navigate. It is vital that any new funding system is as clear, and as accessible, as possible.
In addition to the criteria, we also believe there are two overarching principles that need to underpin any future system of care and support and be reflected in out recommendations:
- Firstly, the funding system must promote the well-being of individuals and families – enabling people to maintain their dignity, protecting those in the most vulnerable circumstances, and helping everyone to participate in the wider community.
- Secondly, any future system must recognise and value the contributions of everyone involved in care and support, including individuals; carers and families; volunteers and professional carers; private, public and charitable sector organisations; tax-payers and wider society. As outlined in the Terms of Reference, our recommendations will cover all adults in England – working-age and older people.