Disability organisations face a grim future if they fail to adapt to funding cuts, policy changes and post-Brexit Britain.
That’s according to a new report which is urging social care providers to adopt new approaches if they are to survive the oncoming challenges.
The new paper was published yesterday by the Voluntary Organisations Disability Group (VODG), which represents bodies such as Leonard Cheshire Disability and Mencap.
Based on the views of VODG members, the paper argues that voluntary social care organisations must adapt to be sustainable. One member said Brexit will be “catastrophic” while another said staffing concerns are a “real worry”.
By 2025, there will be 11.7m disabled people living in England, compared to today’s 11m today. Cumulative adult social care cuts since 2010 have amounted to £6.3bn, more savings are planned and the recent cash injection for social care is only a temporary solution, warns the report.
However, the paper argues, voluntary adult social care sector could be stronger if disabled people were more involved in decision-making. For example, providers could enable people supported to articulate their own demands for social care to government, arguing for better funding and support for high quality care.
The paper outlines other hopes and solutions for the sector. It says social care providers could come to be regarded as an independent “counterbalance” to the establishment. It also forecasts that organisations that adopt a cooperative model might shift the balance of power and collaborate better with people supported.
Meanwhile, it says change is possible if commissioners encourage innovation and a less risk-averse approach
Some of the challenges for disability groups outlined by the report include increased bureaucracy and an unwillingness for statutory-funded organisatinos to criticise local government.
Yesterday’s report follows VODG’s previous work on exploring how charities can become more sustainable and how social care leaders might develop the sector in turbulent times.
VODG chief executive, Dr Rhidian Hughes, said: “Social care organisations have no choice but to transform, from embracing new technology to adopting new approaches to working with people and their families.
“We’re all operating in difficult times, but given the positive ethos and founding missions of voluntary sector organisations, it is clear to see how action could be sparked by the challenges we face.”