With an election on its way there is, quite rightly, a lot of focus on party positioning when it comes to adult social care.

New president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Care (ADASS), Melanie Williams, has highlighted that the next government must finally be called upon to deliver lasting social care reform. Politicians must be put on the spot during the election campaign in order to focus long overdue attention on the adult social care systems across the UK.

Since the Care Act 2014 there has been a decade of disappointment when it comes to policy, funding and cross-government action, and ADASS describes it as indefensible that there are almost half a million people still waiting for care or to have their needs assessed.

Labour agrees that adult social care is a ‘service in crisis’ with Shadow Social Care Minister, Andrew Gywnne, admitting that the scale of the problems can no longer be swept under the carpet. The party plans to introduce a fair pay agreement for adult social care, ensuring that pay, terms and conditions, training and development all meet the needs of staff and employers across the sector.

But when asked about the level of investment required, Gwynne admitted that a figure cannot yet be identified, highlighting that the situation inherited from the previous government would need to be assessed. Previous estimates have indicated that around £8 billion of additional funding per year could be required to meet future demand.

In the meantime, the Conservatives have been in the press amidst fears that social care budgets may be further reduced as a result of Rishi Sunak’s pledge to increase defence spending by £4.5bn per year.

Senior councillors have warned that the extra money for the armed forces will have a detrimental effect on funding services for the elderly and the vulnerable. Graham Chapman, vice president of SIGOMA, the group of councils which represents urban areas in northern England, the Midlands and south coast, highlighted concerns that the axe would fall on social care, which for some authorities makes up to 70 percent of budgets.

Melanie Williams at ADASS identifies that we not only need the commitment of decision makers in government, but that we also need to change the way the public thinks about social care. It’s as important to everyone as the NHS for the wellbeing of themselves and their families, even if they don’t need support just yet.

The upcoming general election presents a real opportunity to put the importance of adult social care in the spotlight for everyone, raising awareness to highlight the issues and to demand a real and meaningful response from those at government level.