State of social care in England 2006-07

29 January 2008

State of social care 2006-07 coverPeople not receiving support from councils are struggling with a poor quality of life.

So says our third annual report to Parliament on the state of social care. It gives a comprehensive overview of the social care sector in England.

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Our chair Dame Denise Platt said: "Our report is in two parts."

"On the one hand we show that those who qualify for council support are having a better experience than before."

"On the other hand those people who fall outside the system, including self funders, have a poor quality experience that can leave them struggling to cope. People who only five years ago qualified for council-arranged help are today excluded by the system and left to fend for themselves. The poor experiences of people and their carers trying and failing to get sufficient help contrast starkly with those people who do qualify for council arranged care."

Following concerns raised by the Commission last year, the third State of Social Care in England report for the first time explores the experiences of people not deemed eligible for state-supported social care. It shows that many younger disabled people and frail older people are being ‘signposted’ to voluntary services. Many are forced to rely on help from family and informal arrangements which can break down at short notice. People unable to rely on families or friends and unable to pay for care services themselves are simply left to cope with everyday life, while some become virtually trapped in their own home.

Fair Access to Care Services

Local councils increasingly only help those with ‘substantial’ or ‘critical’ needs. Although councils use a national set of rules (called Fair Access to Care Services - FACS ) to decide who is eligible for support.

The report includes new research which shows that who does or doesn’t get help varies not only between but also within the same council. In practice the criteria can be interpreted in different ways by local staff.

Find out more

Presented to Parliament under section 129 (1)(b) of the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003

Created: 23/01/2008 Last updated: 29/01/2008