The Independent Care Group has set out its autumn plan of action to get politicians to tackle the crisis in the care of vulnerable adults.
The ICG plans to target party conference season to press for positive change in social care.
ICG Chair Mike Padgham has written to the health teams of the Conservatives and Labour, urging them to make social care a priority.
The ICG is also offering to share its expertise with politicians as well as preparing its own election manifesto for the General Election and stepping up its lobbying and campaigning activities for the benefit of the sector.
Mr Padgham said: “The party conference season offers a golden opportunity for the political parties to show what they plan for the future of social care.
“We look to them for bold new ideas to support social care, tackle the inequalities that currently exist and prepare the sector for an exciting future.”
At its last Board meeting, the ICG discussed a key messages document, setting out its strategy for the future.
The document said: “Across the ICG Board and its membership, we have many hundreds of years’ experience of delivering exceptional social care to thousands of grateful people and their loved ones – we make that expertise available to politicians and decision makers to shape their future policy.
“Social care, and particularly those who benefit from it, do not have a strong voice. They deserve to be heard.
“Politicians dare not tackle social care because they fear it will be too expensive and they don’t believe it is a vote winner. They are wrong.
“By staying quiet and acquiescent, we are allowing these two situations to continue. The ICG will not stay quiet and perpetuate the view that everything in the garden is rosy, when it isn’t.
“We want positive change for the sector.”
The ICG has already set out its broad wishes in its Five Pillars of Social Care Reform document which has been sent to the Government and to the Labour health team to try and influence their thinking on social care.
On 1st August the ICG was a signatory to a campaign by the Yorkshire and The Humber Care Association Alliance to encourage all social care providers to join their local provider group to strengthen the voice of the sector across the region.
Mr Padgham added: “This demonstrated our belief that, as a sector, we need to raise our voice, stand up and be counted and campaign for social care.
“We are already a leading partner in that Alliance, which is part of the national Care Association Alliance, strengthening our voice at the highest level of social care decision making.”
The ICG wants to know how politicians plan to get care to the 1.6m people who currently can’t get it; tackle the 152,000 vacancies in the sector; properly recognise and reward the social care workforce with better pay and conditions and find the extra 445,000 care staff the sector will need to cope with rising demand, by 2035.
The five pillars in the document are:
- Ring fence a percentage of GDP to be spent on providing social care to those who already receive it and the 1.6m who can’t get it
- Create a unified National Care Service, incorporating health and social care
- Set a National Minimum Wage per hour for care staff on a par with NHS
- Set up an urgent social care task force to oversee reform
- Fix ‘fair price for care’ tariffs for things like care beds and homecare visits.
Mr Padgham added: “The five pillars document forms the basis of our talks with politicians as we look to influence their thinking in the weeks and months ahead.
“We will also be developing those five pillars into a manifesto so that we can prepare for the next general election with some clear suggestions and ideas for change.”
The ICG has just added six new directors to strengthen its Board for the future.