Funds for adult social care: 'funding gap still there to be bridged'
Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Date: 20th October 2010
Directors of Adult Social Services have welcomed the promise of funds to help ameliorate the cuts they anticipate making in adult social care services made in the Chancellors Spending Review announced today. But they have warned that the likelihood of a 28 per cent reduction in core local government grant over the next four years will be a `colossal challenge to managers and staff.
According to ADASS President Richard Jones: We very much welcome the fact that some funds are being made available to councils to enable them to help sustain services. We welcome the profile and priority that Mr Osbornes review has given social care. It acknowledges the concerns we have expressed for some while now about the growing demands of an ageing population and the numbers of people with increasingly complex conditions.
It also recognises the need, which ADASS supports, to incentivise ever closer integration with the NHS. If social care is driven over a financial cliff the only people who will suffer are those people who desperately need the care and attention of both health and social care services. This additional money will help us continue to support vulnerable people.
He cautioned, though, that challenges will arise within individual local authorities as directors use the priority and profile central government has provided them with in order to inform and support local decisions about protecting adult social care. With the extra finance not being ring-fenced and local government overall facing 28% reductions in revenue, some very tough local decisions about the share of the overall budget going to adult social care are going to have to be made, he said.
This is in the context where councils spend significantly more on social care than the revenue support grant allocation. Adult social care is the largest area of controllable spend in most councils so it is going to be extremely difficult to protect current spend when the loss of funding to all services is so great.
It will push us to continue to make efficiency and productivity gains in addition to that which has been achieved to date, he added. And ADASS will play its part in seeking to ensure that all authorities have the support they need in maximising their efficiency and effectiveness and can learn from what others have achieved
He concluded by warning that we calculated in our submission to the Spending Review that there would be a £5.7 billion shortfall in adult social care funding. The Commission on Funding Care and Support is an acknowledgement that our current system is not sustainable and we welcome the recognition of the challenges facing adult social care whilst a new settlement is put in place.
Given the challenges at a local level to make major reductions we are likely to still see a funding gap over the four years, and bridging that gap is going to take a great deal of skill, innovation and fundamental reform to how we work, what we offer and the role of individual citizens and the contribution of communities.
He added: It is clear too that the ways in which the news sums will be distributed will significantly affect the amounts individual authorities will receive. It will not be until later this autumn, when the revenue grant allocations are published, that we will have a clear picture of the full impact on local authorities budgets.
For further information contact:
Richard Jones, ADASS President, 01772 534390
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755
* ADASSs submission to the Spending Review is available on the Resources Network page of the ADASS website www.adass.org.uk