Revitalise research reveals that disabled people and carers are actually worse off since the launch of the Care Act.
National disabled people’s charity Revitalise has responded to a new study on the first anniversary of the Care Act, published this week by Carers Trust.
In its own study, Revitalise found that the long-awaited Care Act had failed to live up to expectations one year on from its launch, echoing the Carers Trust study, which found that the Act had “made little or no difference to the 5.4 million carers in England.”
The Revitalise research found that over half (55%) of England’s local authorities had spent less overall on services for disabled people and carers since the Care Act came into being than in the year before and 42% had reduced their spending on respite provision.
The Care Act promised all disabled people and carers an assessment of their support needs. However, the Revitalise study, based on Freedom of Information (FOI) requests, found that local authorities gave fewer Needs Assessments for disabled people during the first year of the Care Act than in the year before it, and half (48%) had carried out an average of 22% fewer Carer Assessments during the same period.
A survey of disabled people and carers echoed the FOI findings. Over half (53%) of the disabled people and carers surveyed by Revitalise said the funding they received had been reduced or not kept pace with inflation over the past year. As a consequence, two thirds (66%) said they had been forced to reduce their time spent taking respite, and 44% said they were now struggling financially.
The failure of the Care Act was amply demonstrated by the fact that 7 out of 10 (69%) disabled people and carers told Revitalise they were unaware of any changes to their entitlements as a result of the Care Act – a finding also highlighted by the Carers Trust study – and half (49%) said the services they received had got worse since the Act’s introduction.
Revitalise is calling for an overhaul of the Care Act to ensure that all the disabled people and carers are offered Carer or Needs Assessments, and more funding from central government to enable local authorities to fully implement all the promises contained within the Act. The charity is also repeating its call for sufficient funding for respite breaks to be a fundamental component of social care.
Revitalise Chief Executive Chris Simmonds said:
“It has become abundantly clear from our own research – and the new Carers Trust study published today – that the Care Act has failed to make any meaningful impact on the quality of life of the people it sets out to support, and in many respects their situation appears to have got worse.
“The similarities between our research and that of Carers Trust are astonishing; they paint a sobering picture of a missed opportunity to make a material difference to the lives of disabled people and carers across the country.
“Central government and local authorities must both shoulder their share of the blame for this failure. There is a huge and growing shortfall in adult social care budgets, which is expected to be around £4.3 billon by 2020, so it is no surprise that local authorities are struggling to implement the Care Act properly.
“However, we are also urging local authorities to improve their rather lukewarm implementation of the Care Act and get squarely behind this ground-breaking new piece of legislation.”
Read more about the Revitalise Care Act research
Read more about the Carers Trust study