This paper takes authorities through the issues they might want to consider in making decisions about how to reduce their budget in line with the settlement for local authorities. It is based on a hypothetical local authority budget of £100 million for adult social care.
There is evidence that local and national circumstances has resulted in a variable impact on adult social care across the country. The average position appears to be that budgets willreduce by about 5% per annum over the next three years, including this current financial year. However, the ADASS budget survey (2011) indicated that 150 English Authorities were making a combined total of £1 billion savings in 2011-12, which is closer to 7% of the spend in the previous year. Therefore, this paper assumes that, if a Local Authority had a budget for social care of £100 million in 2010-11, it is likely to be £93 million for 2011-12 and then
further reduce to £86 million by 2013-14, the end of the period of this local government settlement (2013-14).
Local authorities face significant challenges in delivering these savings. Approaches differ widely between councils: from budget reductions across the board, to a focus on back office savings, to outsourcing, to more fundamental strategic shifts such as reducing spend on low level services where there is no immediate evidence of a preventive impact, or alternatively increasing investment in communities and redirecting people away from social care.
This paper is intended to be used by all in social care and allied services who need to make decisions about the allocation of resources. It is not suggesting that any one approach is more effective than others. Instead it offers some ideas which Councils might want to explore about their patterns of expenditure within the context of a simple framework. It identifies the balance of resources and allows senior managers and elected members to be clear about their direction of travel and the rationale behind it.