ODPM examines the future of social care in local government

    The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s 10-year vision
    of local government could map out the relationship social services
    will have with health and education in the future,
    writes Derren Hayes.

    The paper sets out the main issues the government wants to examine
    in developing a plan for what local government will look like in 10
    years and how to get there. It is likely to be followed by a more
    detailed document in September and culminate in a white paper next
    year.

    One of the five main areas for consideration in the pamphlet is the
    role of councils in delivering social care and education and how
    they relate to other public services including health. Developing a
    performance framework that is not dependent on central government
    but encourages local accountability is also highlighted.

    The balance of funding between central government and local
    sources, citizenship and re-engaging communities, and political and
    managerial leadership are other areas to be addressed.

    One former social services director said the interface between
    social services and health and education will be key battle
    grounds, especially when considering most hospitals will be
    foundation trusts and schools autonomous organisations within 10
    years.

    Mike Leadbetter, head of the Practice Learning Taskforce, said the
    debate should address council boundaries and whether health bodies,
    such as primary care trusts, could be aligned alongside them.

    But he said the ultimate issue will be around funding and
    ring-fencing. “The government wants councils to spend a set
    amount on social services while councils want the freedom to spend
    budgets on what they want. How do you square that
    circle?”

    The Future of Local Government from www.odpm.gov.uk

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