Reform of Adult Care and Support
The Department is currently taking forward a process to reform adult care and support.
Care and support describes the activities, services and relationships that help us to live an independent, healthy, active and inclusive life.
The Department provides or secures the majority of care and support services through adult social care, which is part of the health and social care (HSC) system.
Examples of services that are provided through adult social care include:
- Day care
- Domiciliary care (care in the home)
- Nursing home care
- Residential home care
- Meals on Wheels
- Social work
- Provision of equipment
Other government departments also provide services which can support people to lead more independent lives, and make up part of the care and support system, for example, benefits, help with housing, and transport.
Why do we need to reform the system?
The care and support system in NI is currently coming under increasing pressure for a number of reasons.
Our population is getting older, and while this is of course a cause for celebration, we know that more of us will need care and support as we grow older. People today also have different ideas and expectations about the care and support they need, and increasingly want control over how their needs are met. And all this is happening in a constrained financial climate.
The reform process is being taken forward in 3 stages:
- consultation on the discussion document Who Cares? The Future of Adult Care and Support in Northern Ireland - this stage has been completed and a summary of the consultation responses can be viewed at Who Cares? Consultation Analysis Report
- consultation on a proposals document setting out a range of option for the future
- publication of a final strategic document setting out the planned direction of care and support services in NI. Legislation may be required thereafter
Stage 2 – Expert Advisory Panel and Call for Evidence
The Department is currently working to develop proposals for change to adult care and support for consultation in April 2017, in accordance with the commitment made in the Minister’s ten year vision Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together.
To support the Minister in her work she has appointed two leading experts in social care to form an Expert Advisory Panel. Des Kelly OBE and John Kennedy will work closely with the Department to provide an independent perspective on possible solutions to meet the challenges facing the care and support system and ensure it is sustainable and fit for purpose.
The Expert Advisory Panel will begin its work by seeking views and suggestions from stakeholders through a Call for Evidence, which will run from 5 December 2016 until 23 January 2017.
This Call for Evidence is intended to provide a way for stakeholders to share examples and evidence as to how care and support can be improved to meet growing demand and changing expectations, and to provide suggestions as to how the care and support system can be sustainably funded to meet those needs.