With an ageing population and an NHS that is showing serious signs of strain, there is a very real issue facing the UK – where will the provision of social care come from. Lady Ros Altmann, former pensions minister under David Cameron has said that “Britain is in danger of ‘sleepwalking into a social care crisis’”.
In a recent survey by Social Enterprise UK, it found that 10 % of social enterprises listed social care as their primary function. The idea that many of these organisations are employee owned, not for profit and having more closely tied to local communities, is generating greater engagement from staff and those being cared for. With greater demand across the UK, it would seem that this drive from social enterprises may just provide a significant part to a longer-term solution (guardian.com, October 24). In support of this approach, is a recent report launched by the Co-operative party (Co-operative news, November 15) the ongoing devolution agenda must go beyond metro mayors and combined city authorities, giving more power at a local level. Following a co-operative enterprise model, the report calls for communities to play a leading role in driving local economic priorities, such as social care, including through the development of employee and customer-owned co-operative businesses.