Directors report extra demands being placed on adult social services

Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Date:  October 2009   
Embargo: 00:01 Hrs Tuesday 20th October 2009 

Figures released today on the eve of a major social care conference, show a marked upturn in referrals to local authority adult social services departments over a wide range of services. ADASS President Jenny Owen said that, on top of the known pressures on social care budgets highlighted by repeated budget surveys over the past three years, these figures demonstrate the challenges departments have faced, and are rising to, over the past six and 12 months.

 

There have been increases in the numbers of cases where vulnerable adults have been referred to social services in danger of some form of physical, emotional or financial abuse. And this new survey by the Association shows there have been recent increases in the level of demand for welfare advice, mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as other services.

 

In the research (conducted in September this year) 60 per cent of directors of adult social services (DASSs) who responded said that the number of safeguarding referrals increased since October 2008, with some 85 per cent of that total saying that further increases had been identified since April.
 
Similar figures were obtained for rises in referrals for mental health, drugs and alcohol abuse services. Nearly half of adult social care departments who responded have seen an increase over the past year, with the vast majority of those increases (88%) being recorded since April.

 

The survey also shows that

 

* Eighty per cent of responding departments have recorded increases in the number of inquiries being picked up by welfare advice services - with 93 per cent of those departments stating that demand has increased since April this year.

 

*  Nearly 40 per cent have seen a rise in levels of homelessness and use of temporary accommodation. 85% of those authorities said that levels had increased since April this year.

 

* There was further evidence that opportunities for paid employment for disabled people have declined, with 56% of respondents noting a reduction, and of that total, 86 per cent indicating that the situation had `worsened since April 2009.

According to ADASS President Jenny Owen: There is no disputing the fact that many adult social care departments have come under increased pressures in the past 12 months, with much of that pressure being increased since April this year when we first conducted this survey.

 

There is not a single explanation for these increases. In some cases recessionary forces will have led more and more people to our doors for advice and support. In others - for example, in the increase in the number of adult safeguarding referrals - it might be that the higher profile of risk and vulnerability has led to a greater vigilance by our care staff and by members of the public alike.

 

She warned, though, that these burgeoning demands were bound to have knock-on implications for already stretched adult social care budgets, whatever their cause. We are well aware of the current state of the economy and the pressures that is bound to have on public sector budgets generally, she said. But that should not allow us to hide from the fact that, however measured and whatever the cause, levels of social need are rising at the same time as our ability to respond to them is being reduced.

 

ENDS

 

For further details contact:
Bill Hodson, Joint Chair, ADASS Housing Network, 01904 554000
Jenny Owen, President ADASS, 07831 597552
Sarah Pickup, ADASS Honorary Secretary, 01992 556301
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755

 

* The survey was conducted in September this year, when 55 (35%) of the Association's membership responded. All percentages quoted are of the number of respondents.

 

Full Survey Questions and Results

 

The National Adults and Childrens Social Care Conference is taking place in Harrogate from October 21 -23 inclusive. For programme and other details, see http://www.ncasc.co.uk/