Social care could lose out in grant scheme, voluntary sector warn

Social care services could lose out to health under the
Department of Health’s grant distributions to voluntary
sector groups this year, social care organisations have warned,
writes Maria Ahmed.

Learning difficulties charity the Association of Real Change and
20 other groups have written to Sir Nigel Crisp, permanent
secretary of the Department of Health, expressing concern that the
section 64 grant priority areas for 2006-7 showed a “distinct
shift” away from social care towards health and mental health

The section 64 general scheme of grants is designed to
“strengthen and develop” the partnership between the DH
and voluntary and community sector.

The organisations called for the priorities to be amended in the
light of the adult green paper and “additional”
priorities to allow scope for innovation.

James Churchill, chief executive of the ARC, raised concerns
that organisations lacked a “carte blanche” in the
priorities list unless it was attached to health, mental health or
National Service Framework activities.

“The critical difference between this year’s list
and previous lists is that if an organisation had any new ideas
there was always scope within the DH’s requirements, but now
that opportunity is missing,” he said.

He predicted that voluntary sector services for older people,
people with learning difficulties and people with physical
disabilities could be sidelined.

Richard Curwen, director of charity Respond, which works with
people with learning difficulties who have been abused, added that
it would be difficult for some organisations to
“squeeze” their ideas to fit the department of
health’s priorities.

While the Department of Health does not set a sum for individual
grants, the total budget for 2005-6 was around £17 million,
with an average of £38,000 a year for an individual grant.


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