The number of adults receiving council-funded social services has fallen by 29% in five years on the back of substantial reductions in local authority budgets.
In 2013-14, 1,267,000 adults in England received a social care services from their council, down 5% from 2012-13 and by 29% since 2008-9, show provisional official statistics released today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.
The figures reflect the substantial cuts to adult social care funding that have taken place in recent years. Last week, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services revealed that budgets have been cut by 26% from 2010-11 to 2014-15 after taken account of inflation and demographic pressures.
Contrary to government and local authority efforts to support more people in their own homes, the sharpest falls in client numbers continue to be in community-based services, where service user numbers fell by 5% from 2012-13 to 2013-14, compared with 3% in residential and nursing homes.
The HSCIC also reported that more people are approaching councils for adult social care support, despite fewer receiving support. There were 2,157,000 contacts from new clients in 2013-14, up 4% from 2012-13 and up 6% from 2008-9. An increasing proportion of them were dealt with at the first point of contact – 54%, up from 53.4% – with a smaller proportion requiring an assessment or commissioned service, continuing a trend.
Besides budget cuts, the reduction in the number of service users has been attributed to council efforts to help people remain at home through services such as reablement.