LocalGovernmentLawyer Adult Social Care 2017 3 Adult social care in 2017 One of the undoubted turning points in the general election was the publication of the Conservative Party's manifesto and in particular its proposals in relation to adult social care. These included the introduction of a single capital floor at £100,000, for which a person's home would be counted whether they were in residential care or a nursing home or living at home. Critics were quick to dub the plans a 'dementia tax'. Theresa May announced within days there would be a lifetime cap on the amount people would have to pay towards social care costs, but said the detail - including the level of that cap - would be left to a consultation after the election. The damage had been done, however, and contributed to why the Prime Minister failed to achieve the landslide victory she had envisaged when calling the snap election. Moving on to the Queen's Speech and the weakness of the Government's position in a hung parliament meant its adult care proposals were among those to go by the board. Instead, under the non-legislative measures the Government said it would "work to address the challenges of social care for our ageing population, bringing forward proposals for consultation to build widespread support." This consultation will set out options to improve the social care system and "to put it on a more secure financial footing, supporting people, families and communities to prepare for old age, and address issues related to the quality of care and variation in practice". So we have the prospect of yet more proposals, yet more consultation against a backdrop where - mindful of the Conservatives getting their fingers burned in the election - politicians are wary of taking difficult decisions or being seen to drive through controversial options. The chances of significant changes being made before the next election seem slim. Local authorities and other stakeholders will meanwhile continue to have to operate within a flawed system. Research carried out by Local Government Lawyer in association with LexisNexis points to growing legal and reputational risks for councils, as they deal with the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision in Cheshire West, the implementation of the Care Act 2014 and the ongoing problem of resourcing. In this supplement we report on those findings and the discussions at a roundtable of senior lawyers, as well as examine issues such as the Law Commission's proposals in relation to replacing the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, the scope for using mediation in adult care and how organisations can address the thorny problem of bed blocking. We hope you enjoy it. Philip Hoult, Editor, Local Government Lawyer Contents Calculated risks, p4 The reputational and legal risks to councils in the field of adult social care law have grown, research by Local Government Lawyer in association with LexisNexis has found. Philip Hoult reports. Social care in practice, p12 At a roundtable held to discuss the results of the Local Government Lawyer/LexisNexis social care survey, senior lawyers considered how local authorities can best deal with the challenges identified. Derek Bedlow reports. Fit for purpose, p16 Tim Spencer-Lane sets out the Law Commission’s proposed new scheme to replace the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS). Mediation at the Court of Protection, p20 Charlotte May outlines the initial findings of a research project into the use of mediation at the Court of Protection. A new way of funding public funerals, p24 With the number and cost of public funerals rising, Daniel Curran outlines a new scheme to tackle the growing cost for local authorities. Commissioning of health and social care by local authorities, p26 LexisPSL Local Government, in partnership with Ros Ashcroft and Penny Rinta-Suksi, looks at the challenges faced by local authorities when commissioning health and social care. Regulation in the genealogy and probate research industry, p32 The introduction of a new code of conduct for the probate genealogy industry comes not a moment too soon, write Fraser & Fraser. Beating bed-blocking, p34 Peggy Etiebet examines the tricky issues contributing to delayed transfers of care and suggests some ways that both health and social care providers can tackle the problem. Local Government Lawyer www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk Editor Philip Hoult philip.hoult@localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk Publisher Derek Bedlow derek.bedlow@localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk Advertising Leanne Rowley leanne@localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk 01625 666 395