Social services overspend laid bare

Councils overspent by 1.4 per cent on social services in 2005-6, according to the latest social services finance survey.

Services for people with physical and sensory disabilities accounted for the highest overspend of 4.8 per cent followed by learning disability services at 3.25 per cent.

Mental health had the next highest overspend of 1.21 per cent and older people came in at 0.62 per cent over budget.

Adult social care accounted for 1.3 per cent of the total national overspend against council’s budgets in 2005-6.

Significant cost pressures in care home places for people with learning disabilities were being experienced by 115 councils in 2006/7 compared to 99 in 2005/6.

The number of councils experiencing cost pressures in care home places for older people, people with physical disabilities and those with mental health problems also rose.

The figures are from a 2006-7 social services finance survey by the Society of County Treasurers, the Association of Directors of Social Services and the Local Government Association conducted in September.

An internal briefing paper containing the figures sent out to ADSS members this week warns that many councils could raise eligibility thresholds further to ease financial pressures.

The news comes ahead of a debate on the growing crisis in adult social care funding in the House of Lords tomorrow

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 Maria Ahmed

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