The government has confirmed that local authority funding to support the personalisation agenda will not be cut this year.
In a meeting with government ministers and officials, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Care was told the £237m social care reform grant would remain in place, allowing English councils to continue with their plans for the transformation of adult services.
Speaking to Community Care, Adass president Richard Jones said this commitment was “reassuring at a time of some resource anxiety”.
It was now time for ministers to think about how to move the agenda forward with a “Putting People First part two” programme to succeed the current agenda, which concludes next year, Jones said.
He added: “It’s positive that the Department of Health and care services minister Paul Burstow was able to keep the social care reform grant ring-fenced and out of the piece.”
However Jones acknowledged that this comes with “the toughest spending review within living memory due in the autumn” and the impact on public sector spending would mean doing more for less.
Concerns remain over possible cuts this year to other grants including the learning disability campus closure programme, the Aids support grant, the homelessness grant, the stroke strategy and the carers grant.
It is thought it will be at least another week before there is any clarity from the Treasury, but it is becoming clearer that the largest cuts will take place in programmes that have a capital element.
Personalisation consultant Jeremy Cooper, of iMPOWER, said the coalition government’s commitment to protect the social care reform grant was good news.
But he added the onus would be on local authorities go beyond the target of having 30% of adult social care users having a personal budget by April 2011, to the aspiration, set out by the previous government, to have all users on personal budgets by 2012.
He said: “Councils must keep their eyes focused on delivering truly transformed social care, not just ticking the milestone box in April 11. Get used to talking about 100% on personal budgets by April 2012 not 30% in April 2011.”