The Department of Health has revealed that about 60% of English councils have reached agreement on the level of learning disability funding they will receive from neighbouring primary care trusts under a planned resource shift.
However, it re-iterated that the remaining councils and PCTs must reach agreement on the cash transfer by 31 March so that the money is in local authority coffers by the start of the 2009-10 financial year.
Under the Valuing People Now agenda, PCTs must transfer their remaining resources and commissioning responsibilities for social care for people with learning disabilities to councils by 2009-10, with healthcare funding for the client group remaining with PCTs.
March deadline must be kept
A DH spokesperson said: “The Department expects that all PCTs and local authorities will have agreed on a figure for transfer of resources by 31 March. About 60% have already done so, so we know good progress is being made. We are supporting those still working on it. We need to have a complete national picture by 31 March.”
She added that councils and PCTs could revise their agreed figure so long as this was reported to the DH.
The PCT funding is a legacy of the housing of people with learning disabilities in long-stay hospitals and other NHS accommodation and most – though not all – of it is transferred to councils annually under local agreements.
The transfer is designed to reflect councils’ lead social care commissioning responsibility for people with learning disabilities and ensure they have full access to government resources dedicated to this purpose.