Unpicking the Care Bill

One of the main purposes of this blog is to encourage people who are leading changes in health and social care services in Leeds to explain, simply, what is happening and how they are trying make it happen. Our latest newbie blogger is Sukhdev Dosanjh, Chief Officer for Social Care Reforms.


Let me introduce myself – I’m Sukhdev Dosanjh and my role at Leeds City Council is to lead on the implementation of the Care Bill, recently given Royal Assent as the Care Act 2014.

I must confess to a certain nervousness as I embark upon this, my first ever blog post. I have been taking some advice from our more seasoned bloggers and they have advised me to keep it simple, keep it short, make it personable and make it interesting – so here goes… I’d appreciate your feedback too as I can see that this is a discussion opportunity.

So, what is the Care Bill/Act?

In a nutshell, the Care Bill represents a modernisation and a fundamental redesign of the legislation concerning adult social care. It creates a new framework with a series of new duties that council’s must adhere to. But it is much more than just a rewriting of law or a new list of responsibilities (if this wasn’t enough!). The Care Bill puts at the heart of adult social care a unifying principle of “wellbeing” and broadens the adult social care “offer” as it were, to carers and what adult social care jargon calls “self-funders” or people who have their owns means for funding care.

The new Act will affect every aspect of adult social care which consists of a range of services to support people (and their carers) who require help as a result of illness, disability, old age or poverty. Many services are often provided jointly with health, independent and voluntary sectors. Services may include: helping people to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible; helping carers help people with learning disabilities and arranging placements in a care home. Other services include providing equipment, a range of community services including day centres, financial support, information and advice. Entitlement to services is determined through eligibility and assessment.

In a future transformed adult social care system, the Government expects people to be able to say:

“I am supported to maintain my independence for as long as possible”;

“I understand how care and support works, and what my entitlements are”;

“I am happy with the quality of my care and support”;

“I know that the person giving me care and support will treat me with dignity and respect”;

“I am in control of my care and support” and

“I have greater certainty and peace of mind knowing about how much I have to pay for my care and support needs.”

At the time of writing this first blog, the Care Bill is before parliament undergoing what is called “ping pong” where amendments and proposals pass between the two houses of Parliament in an attempt to reach consensus. We expect the Bill to become an act and granted Royal Assent anytime now. [It was granted on 14 May 2014]

It is expected that the provisions in the Care Bill (Act) will come into force from 1 April 2015 with financial funding reforms coming into effect from the 1 April 2016.

Now, a year may seem like a long period of time, but if you consider that we have to understand and digest some 35 different sets of secondary guidance which will be only be finalised in October, it will be challenging and alongside our “Better Lives” work in Leeds to transform the health and adult social care landscape and make the most of our Leeds health and social care £.

For us in Leeds, it is all part of our journey to transform the health and social care system to deliver better outcomes for people and save money. Talking of money, the reforms set out in the Bill are largely unfunded (Leeds was recently awarded a token £125k, which is best described as a drop in the ocean for a city with a population of 798,000; at the last census!)

For those of us who work in Adult Social Care Services, we have never been asked to do so many complicated things, all at once and with no money. As well as the reforms, my list would also include: manage the increasing demand for services coming from demographic pressures of more than £13m; cuts in the NHS and cuts in the Council. It is worth remembering that Adult Social Care Services is working with a smaller cash budget than we had last year. Or, put another way, we are consuming a larger slice of a smaller cake, but are still having to manage huge pressures.

There is also the increased expectation of our older people from the Rolling stones era (my generation!) who wish to live as independently in their own homes for as long as possible. Quite right too!

So what are we doing about it in Leeds?

I am currently reading Robert Harris’s ‘Imperium’ (bear with me, this is relevant!) about the life of the Roman Statesman, Marcus Cicero. He said “before beginning; plan carefully”- so this is what we have been doing. We have set up a programme of work which focuses on the key priorities; Carers, Assessment and Eligibility, Advice and Information and Information Management and Technology.

I began this blog post with a confession and I would want to end it with one too. I’ve really enjoyed writing it and look forward to the next one where I will attempt to explain the new burdens and duties and more importantly what they mean for Leeds.

I hope you have enjoyed reading. Please let me know.

About betterlivesleeds

Health, social and age-related care services working together to make Leeds the best city for health and wellbeing
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6 Responses to Unpicking the Care Bill

  1. Julie Snowdon says:

    Yes a good intro, right level of detail, to build more personal knowledge over the coming months.

  2. Phil Gleeson says:

    Good initial explanation Mr Dosanjh,

    I do know, being involved in initial discussions when it was the Care Bill, that in Leeds we have an excellent mix of people who are developing and making the process simple as possible to alleviate as much of the pain as possible.

    What has to be done is to ensure the most vulnerable citizens of our city still receive the services they are used and entitled. I hope councils do not use the Care Act, as it is now known, to make drastic changes to services and cutting citizens off from others, although we have a massive isolation problem in England.

    I understand it is a massive task but by utilising the whole of the cities experienced citizens, a caring but lean and effective system can be setup for future generations, not just for the next few years.

    I await your next posting with anticipation.

  3. Phil Gleeson says:

    thank you.


  4. Tony Harte says:

    Many thanks for that Sukhdev. I found that a useful timely summary of where we are.
    For my very small part here in ASC Central Services we understand that getting things right is vital as, if we get it wrong, it can have a devastating effect on someone’s life. This has never been truer than when trying to protect the most vulnerable in our society and we ALL play a vital role in this. I’m sure that our focus will always be on accuracy, quality and timeliness in our Service to the folk of Leeds.
    Only by working together, communicating effectively, adopting the ‘can do’ (if not the ‘will do’ attitude), and seeking out the best practices, can we ensure that those who need our protection are kept safe from harm.
    I’m all for prior planning and preparation to prevent poor performance(!), but wondered if the timeline to deliver such a massive and unprecedented transformation is realistic?
    In any event, good luck with the unpicking … and the Blog!

  5. Shaun Cale says:

    Great blog, Sukhdev! I now have much more of an understanding of your role and impact in the Council, which I’m positive will help me and other colleagues going forward. You illustrate some of the key issues we face as a city, and what Adult Social Care is doing to help. I must agree that it is not going to be easy! However, this blog is a good gateway to ensure that all the hard work ‘behind the scenes’ is recognised.

  6. Sukhdev Dosanjh says:

    Hi and thank you for looking at my first ever blog and posting some very helpful and insightful comments. I am picking up and hearing themes through the blog waves; going forward with the Care Act reforms: of ensuring that the most vulnerable in our city understand what services they are entitled to and receive them: the importance of addressing social isolation and communication and comments of support for delivering the scale and pace of the reforms. Many thanks again, I will pick these themes up in my next blog.

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