This is an excellent report by Healthwatch and it allows me to return to a theme of earlier posts.

Half of councils don't know how long unpaid carers have been waiting for help.  Just imagine the outcry from NHSE if that gap in data insight was applied to DTOC.  But I strongly suggest that the interface between formal and informal care is of far greater outcome and money saving impact than DTOC.  The NAO estimates the contribution of informal care to be somewhere between £60bn and £100bn - dwarfing spend on formal social care.  We need to get DTOC right (unfortunately the top down vigour in this area is putting too many people into care homes) but Councils also need data insight focused on what is truly important to the system.

In other countries, such as the Netherlands and Germany, there is a far more grown up way of assessing the contribution of families.  'Mantelzorg' in the Netherlands is a way of properly assessing and paying for the role that families can play in social care, without compulsion, but as a formal part of the process.

But we are not off the starting blocks.  In order to reimagine informal care policy we need data insight and local research into carer context.  'Prevention' can be effective if it is rigorously focused on impact and outcomes but is a spending lottery otherwise.

#acaringsociety needs a lot of things, money included.  But we also need Councils that can interpret the system, its dynamics and flaws, with intelligence.  Markets, society, government, technology and people work in complex combinations.  I worry we are slowly losing our ability to understand the bigger picture of Place, and hence our ability to care.