Leading figures in the Church of England have launched a call to ‘fix our broken social care system,’ with proposals for a ‘national care covenant’ and a redesign of the adult social care sector.
Launched by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, two of the most influential church leaders, a report ‘Care and Support Reimagined: a National Care Covenant for England’ calls for the Government and communities to tackle negative attitudes to ageing and disability as a starting point for reimagining services.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: ‘This report gives me hope that we can rise to the challenge of fixing our broken social care system. Rooted in the right values, the development of a national care covenant is a step towards this, where everyone is engaged in a collaborative effort to ensure that we can all access the care and support we need.’
This Covernenant would consist of an agreement between citizens and the Government to reinvigorate social care through investment in communities, a stronger role for the state, a new deal for unpaid carers, and ‘a commitment to our responsibilities as actively engaged citizens’.
The document advocates for a ‘values-based vision’ for care, and discusses topics such as the ‘theology of disability and ageing,’ alongside recommendations for the development of a fairer social care system and overcoming the stigma surrounding care.
‘Whilst all older people, disabled people and people suffering from mental illness face barriers due to public attitudes, some individuals face multiple discrimination due to other protected characteristics such as race and sexuality’, said the report.
The commission also recommended creating simplified assessments that lead to a guaranteed budget, and trusting people to manage their own care so they can decide what help they need.
The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, said: ‘This report outlines a new vision for our society where we learn to be inter-dependent with one another, where I thrive because you do, and together we live in a country where we serve one another and flourish together.
Speaking alongside Revd Cottrell on Good Morning Britain yesterday (24 January), Homecare Association chief executive Jane Townsend said she agreed that ‘care was a basic human need’ and that social care services needed additional support.
‘If you look at our evolutionary history,’ said Ms Townsend, ‘everything that develops comes through collaboration, empathy, connection; and that needs to be recognised – and what we need to do is invest in the people that are delivering this really vital public service.’