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After several delays and a change of Health and Social Care Secretary, the Government's long-awaited Green Paper on adult social care for older people is due to be published in the autumn.

In the March 2017 Budget, the Conservative Government promised a Green Paper on adult social care for older people, scheduled to be published in summer that year.

One year on that Green Paper is still awaited. In June, former Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt explained, "Because we want to integrate plans for social care with the new NHS plan, it does not make sense to publish it before the NHS plan has even been drafted. So we now intend to publish the social care Green Paper in the autumn."

Now it seems the focus of the Green Paper may be evolving. Appearing before the Commons' Health and Social Care Committee in July, the new Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed that the Green Paper would now include proposals on younger adults' social care as well as care for older people.

So, what do we know about the proposed content of the Green Paper? During the General Election campaign, the Prime Minister said that the proposals would include a lifetime absolute limit on what people pay for social care, while her party's manifesto proposed changes to the means test.

"The Green Paper is guided by seven principles" commented Minister for Care Caroline Dinenage in an interview with Care Home Professional. "These include: quality, integration, more individual control – for example through Personal Health Budgets, workforce, supporting families and carers, finding a sustainable funding model and delivering security for all.

In June the British Association of Social Workers set out its position on what the Green Paper needs to achieve. "We want skilled practitioners, including social workers, to be able to make professional judgements about necessary and sufficient care and support, in partnership with people who need care and support. This requires sustainable funding and good quality of services."

George McNamara, Director of Policy at the charity Independent Age, has urged the new Secretary of State to focus on six key areas in the Green Paper, including 'transforming the attractiveness, opportunities for career progression and value given to the social care workforce'.

"With demands rising, we must find a way to make health and care – by which I mean the whole health and social care system – sustainable for the long term, " said Matt Hancock in his first speech as Health and Social Care Secretary. Social care professionals everywhere will be eagerly awaiting his proposals in the Green Paper this autumn.

What would you like to see included within the Green paper? You can find out more about what Caroline Dinenage MP has to say about the Green paper in the next issue of Social Work News which is out next month.
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