Most councils say they are protecting children’s and adults’ services above all other services in the face of the 2011-12 budget cuts, a Local Government Association survey has shown.
When asked which services councils had sought to protect the most, 63% of local authority finance directors said children’s social care and 57% said adult social care. The next most common answer was refuse and recycling, at 21%.
The survey also revealed that councils are taking steps to reduce bureaucracy and management costs.
More than half (58%) of local authorities plan to increase the proportion of cuts to administration, human resources, finance and IT services in 2011-12. Eight out of 10 have already cut middle-management costs.
Baroness Margaret Eaton, chairman of the LGA, said: “Local politicians have had to make incredibly tough decisions in recent weeks about the services they continue to provide and those they are having to reduce.
“Where resources are under pressure, the survey shows that councils are targeting services at those most in need.”
But unions hit out at those council chiefs who had failed to prioritise social care, claiming the survey read like a “hit list of valued local services”.
Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, said: “Political decisions taken in Whitehall to make massive, front-loaded cuts, mean that even children’s social care and Sure Start centres are not safe.
“Both adult’s and children’s social care services are already stretched to breaking point.
“Big cuts will make a bad situation worse. “
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