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4,000 extra staff needed to implement DHSC social care reforms

DHSC adult social care reforms could cost a minimum of £10 billion more than currently estimated and will require over 4,000 new social work staff, a new study has revealed.

The analysis, released by the County Councils Network (CCN) and Newton, has looked at the impact of the Government’s reforms, which include a cap on care costs of £86,000 and ‘fair’ cost of care funding.

The overall cost of the care reforms could be a minimum of £25.5bn over the next decade, CCN and Newton calculated. This compares to Government estimates of £15.6bn.

As well as the cost of the reforms potentially being £10bn higher than currently estimated, the new analysis found that there will be ‘significant’ regional variation in implementation costs. Councils in England’s counties account for 57 per cent (£14.3bn) of the total estimated minimum costs of the reforms. This is compared to just 11 per cent (£4.9bn) in urban metropolitan borough councils in the North and West Midlands.

CCN and Newton also warned that the new reforms would add to staffing pressures. They estimate that an additional 4,300 social work staff will be required, on top of a current vacancy rate of 1,782.

Commenting, Cllr Martin Tett, adult social care spokesperson for CCN, said: “Today’s report shows there is a significant financial and operational cost to these reforms, which are likely to be significantly more than the government’s estimates. We urge ministers to clearly examine these findings.”

The analysis suggests that half of the Health and Social Care Levy could be spent on funding these reforms by 2032.

Responding to the report, Cllr David Fothergill, chair of the LGA Community Wellbeing Board commented: “This report provides further analysis that adds weight to growing concerns that proposed reforms to social care are potentially significantly underfunded. This would be disastrous for councils, care providers and people who access care.

‘With shortages across the sector, social care staff are already under extraordinary pressure and adding more to their workload with no plans for increased support or pay risks driving even more valued staff away from working in the sector.”

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