The Chasm of Vulnerability

The overall approach of looking after those who need care and support in the UK over the last decade has been one of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing and has led to the chasm of vulnerability.  This sees ever increasing numbers of vulnerable people left without either care or support and to their own devices often without the wherewithal to cope.

The reason for this is there for all to see with care funding only aiding those with the highest care need and support funding aiding those with the lowest support need leaving a huge gap – the chasm of vulnerability – in the middle.

The continuum of care and support below explains this.

LOW
SUP

MED
SUP

HIGH
SUP

L1
CARE

L2
CARE

L3
CARE

L4
CARE

2001

Y

Y

Y

N

Y/N

Y

Y

2011

Y

Y/N

N

N

N

Y/N

Y

The table is a continuum from lowest levels of aide ranging from low level support funded by SP to the highest level of care (level 4 – critical) on the right.

The scale of the red shading (N) reveals the change over the last decade in terms of the (lack of) funding and delivery of care and support now in 2011 compared to 2001. The red areas (N) contain hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people who now don’t receive any form of aide – that term used here to mean care and/or support.

SP funding was withdrawn from 200,000 vulnerable people alone in its first three years from 2003 – 2006 and this represented almost 1 in 6 losing support.  Scandalously local councils did not record what happened to these vulnerable people for whom support was withdrawn though as ‘support’ at its highest level doesn’t qualify for ‘care’ funding we must assume they didn’t receive any aide as replacement.

I can find no figures for those who didn’t qualify for ‘care’ funding in this time yet the almost monthly decisions of councils in that time choosing to ration care by only funding the highest level of care eligibility that is critical must also mean that many have lost care funding and care delivery.  A recent judicial review application against  care cuts in Lancashire reported late last week revealed that one of the reasons Lancashire gave was that by restricting funding just to critical (the highest level) level of care was that this brought the council into line with 78% of all councils in doing this!

The numbers of vulnerable people supported by SP funding has remained largely constant since 2006 and so we must assume those losing care services haven’t received replacement support delivery after care was withdrawn. It fell from 1.23m vulnerable people to 1.04m.

Hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people have therefore fallen into this chasm of vulnerability created by social services and SP teams funding opposite ends of the support to care continuum over the last decade.

Hang on I hear you say doesn’t SP sit in Social Service departments in many cases and (even if not) wasn’t the last decade of social care policy supposedly joined-up thinking and in SP’s case joined-up commissioning?  Well yes that was the idea! But still we have hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people for whom no agency or authority has responsibility for and no record of.

In many ways that’s a damning indictment of the last Labour government’s social policy which will surprise no-one given its reliance on tables, ratings and outputs of qualitative functions it quantified and erroneously called outputs.  Much of that still exists and is being made worse by ‘localism’ and by centralist cuts and reforms to both Housing Benefit and SP funding.

Using the traffic light on the above table again the funding cuts and the HB reforms especially the ludicrous proposals to more exempt and supported accommodation HB to a LHA based alternative will significantly widen the chasm of vulnerability that the red ink shows.  The SP cuts of between 10 and 35% will seem insignificant compared to the 24 – 65% cuts in HB being proposed in supported housinghttp://wp.me/p1vuvL-P and many more vulnerable people will fall into this social policy black hole I call the chasm of vulnerability.

NOTE

The table above was originally coloured with N being highlighted in red, Y/N in amber and Y in green

 

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