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Lords Committee to investigate the ‘invisibility’ of Adult Social Care

Monday 4 April 2022

The House of Lords Adult Social Care Committee today publishes its call for evidence, and invites the public to share their views, as part of its new inquiry: ‘Lifting the veil: Removing the invisibility of adult social care’.

Adult social care provides services for people from young to old; from those with inherited disabilities from birth to those who become ill, frail and dependent as they move into later life. Across these many different conditions and personal circumstances, people with care needs rely for much of their support, care and independence on carers; and in many ways, both the people who draw on care and support and their carers are largely invisible.

The inquiry will, therefore, consider how that entrenched invisibility of adult social care impacts on the lives of people who draw on care and support and the lives of the people who enable them and care for them. It will explore what needs to change to create a fair, resilient and sustainable care system that better enables everyone to ‘live an ordinary life’, and in doing so, gives individuals choice and control over their lives. The inquiry will acknowledge the diversity of ambitions and aspirations that those with specific care needs have for their lives across every age and consider how adult social care should best enable them to achieve these different goals.

The Committee will focus on three key issues:

  • The invisibility of adult social care, and its consequences;
  • Better support for carers; and
  • Putting co-production at the heart of care.

The committee invites all those with an interest in adult social care, but particularly experts by experience – those who draw on care and support, and those who care for them to submit written evidence by 27 May 2022. The full call for evidence is available on the committee’s website.

Baroness Andrews, Chair of the Adult Social Care Committee said:

“While people understand by experience what the health service does, very few people understand what adult social care is, how it works and why it matters, until they themselves or their friends and families are directly affected.

“This relative ‘invisibility’ means that it can be difficult to bring about positive change on the ground, not least because so much is so far from sight.

“The nature of invisibility, for example, describes not only the enormous diversity and different challenges faced by those who draw on social care, but also the experience of the many millions of family members and friends across the country who support their loved ones -young and old - to live their lives, often providing more care and support than formal services.

“In launching this inquiry, our main purpose is to understand and recognise how these barriers of invisibility can be dismantled and how both those who receive different types of support and care at different ages can meet their aspirations for a full life, as well as their families and friends who care for them.

“By listening and learning from those who will share their experience and knowledge with us, we also seek to reflect on what the meaning of social care should be and ask how far the system remains from realising that meaning in the everyday lives of people who draw on care and of their families. In doing so, we can challenge the assumption that unpaid care is always an option and anticipate the need for new forms of care and support.

“We encourage a wide range of witnesses to come forward and submit evidence, especially those with lived experience, in the full knowledge that your views are valued and will have an impact on the future of adult social care in England.”

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