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The Perfect Storm: Social care in crisis

Ahead of the government’s long-awaited social care green paper, Policy Manager Henry Thompson introduces the IFoA’s new Social Care Policy Briefing series

Hardly a day goes by without a story appearing in the news about the pressures facing the creaking social care system. And rightly so.

A perfect storm has emerged over recent years, with local government budgets cut, the care home sector on the brink and the NHS already at its limit; all of which have been exacerbated by an increasing ageing population and an inevitable surge in demand.

For the last twenty years, successive governments have tried to reform the system, but with little joy. The latest government attempt to address the problem is due to arrive any time now in the form of a green paper, which will set out a range of options for consultation.

The IFoA is naturally focused on the funding aspects of reform, in particuarly how the system can be designed in a way so that it is able to provide adequate care for the almost 2 million older people who need care now, as well as how it can meet the care needs of those in 10, 20 and 30 years’ time.

This is no mean feat, particularly when you throw in questions around how to fund the system fairly, specifically between generations. The green paper will also consider wider questions like the integration of health and care and how to retain a skilled care workforce, the latter of which is easier said than done in the context of Brexit.

In anticipation of the green paper, the IFoA is publishing a five-part briefing series to help inform debate around the options put forward by the government. The briefings bring together various pieces of work the IFoA and its members have undertaken on topics ranging from the means test to financial products and solutions that can be used to pay for care. The final briefing will provide an international viewpoint from other countries around the world who find themselves in similar predicaments.

Through the perspective of the IFoA’s public interest remit, we hope that these briefings can provide an objective view of the challenges and the solutions available to policymakers, and demonstrate the value and expertise that the actuarial skillset can bring to such problems.

There is a lot of hope placed on this green paper to deliver the answers the system so desperately needs. Let’s hope it doesn’t join the already long list of failed attempts that have gone before it.