LocalGovernmentLawyer Adult Social Care 2017 9 relationships of this kind, while one lawyer revealed that their authority had put in place a s.75 agreement but it had subsequently been terminated. The experience of respondents when it comes to s.75 agreements seems to be very mixed. Roughly speaking, for every positive comment such as “Our experience has been mostly excellent; there is a great will for integration locally”, there were two negative comments. “With ever tightening budgets both parties are becoming critical and untrusting of each other with regard to resources, commissioning and capital investment,” wrote one respondent. “Multi-disciplinary teams operate in silos, failing to appreciate the legal frameworks binding the other employees, often committing the other to unlawful or unworkable arrangements.” Another reported that it had led to “a situation where clients are left to ‘fend for themselves’ as no one will take responsibility for commissioning to conserve their budgets”, while a third said that in practice too often a stalemate was reached between the local authority and health bodies as to what is most appropriate for the service user. The comments given by the lawyers highlight the importance of getting the practicalities of the arrangements right and delivering clarity in the drafting of the agreement and the governance structure. One respondent revealed “a lack of clarity of what the agreement says when working with it on a day to day basis” and that “it’s also attached to a pooled budget arrangement….in which the LA [local authority] seems to come off worse.” Will devolution provide an answer? Our respondents were then asked to what extent they thought the devolution of powers would help with the integration of health and social care. Analysis of their answers suggests that the majority are far from convinced – particularly if any such transfer is not accompanied by extra resources. “Without central government increasing its social care funding I do not see devolution having any effect other than that central government will be able to blame local authorities for any problems,” said one. Another wrote: “Unless properly funded it will merely exaggerate the divisions in local areas, leading to greater inequality”, while a third said they were “sceptical that devolution would resolve many of the key issues and barriers, which….relate to culture, governance and funding.” Some lawyers were more hopeful, however, suggesting that it could lead to “less confusion about the responsible Fig 5 Fig 6 It is no surprise that some 94% of the adult social care lawyers reported increased workloads. And a lack of resources for the legal team to respond to these pressures is clearly a major issue. “Our legal work has more than doubled. But legal budgets have not,” wrote one respondent pithily.