Services face more cuts say directors as funding gap remains

Adass budget survey also shows most councils have seen an adult social care provider either fail or hand back contracts in last six months

British money with calculator
Image: Fotolia/Roger Ashford

Most councils in England have had at least one adult social care provider either fail or hand back a contract, despite 82% of councils increasing fees to providers to help fund the National Living Wage.

In its annual budget survey the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (Adass) found evidence of actual provider failure in 65% of areas in the last six months. This figure rose to 80% when accounting for providers who had handed back council contracts in the same period.

Less than a third of directors (31%) were confident they could make the savings demanded of them over the next year and still meet their statutory duties.

Increases swallowed up by National Living Wage

The survey showed that although the average budget for adult social care had increased slightly, as a result of the social care precept which allowed councils to raise council tax rates, this benefit had not been spread evenly across the country.

The increase had also been swallowed up by paying providers more to help fund the national living wage and overspends from last year. This means there is a still a gap of £941m (7% of net adult social care budgets) in 2016/17 of which 39% will come from service reductions.

Directors identified areas most likely to be targeted for cuts would be early intervention, integrated services, shifting activity to cheaper settings and better procurement.

Outlook is bleak

Adass President Harold Bodmer said: “We have been arguing for some time now that adult social care needs to be given the same protection and investment as the NHS. Services are already being cut and the outlook for future care is bleak.”

Vicky McDermott, chair of the care and support alliance, said the figures made grim reading for older and disabled people and their carers.

“It’s clear that the new council tax precept has not been sufficient to keep pace with rising demand for care and the National Living Wage.

“Chronic underfunding will continue to have serious consequences for older and disabled people, many of whom aren’t getting the support they need to get up, get dressed and get out of the house.”

The survey, completed every year, covered 151 local authorities in England but was carried out before the referendum on the European Union (EU) membership.

Bodmer said Adass would be closely monitoring the impact of the referendum result on the care economy and the thousands of EU staff working in social care settings.

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2 Responses to Services face more cuts say directors as funding gap remains

  1. Ozzy1988 July 13, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

    What does this mean for student social worker who are hoping for a carer in the social services. Should I still apply for University to become a social worker? The future seems uncertain.

  2. Ruth Cartwright July 14, 2016 at 1:41 pm #

    This makes grim reading. The fact that Directors are making an issue of funding cuts rather than just rolling over and accepting the propaganda that public services are well funded and should be making economies (which we have been doing for 20 years or more) is remarkable. In my view Councils and those who work for them (ie Social Workers) should say to the electorate and to those people who they are trying to support exactly why they cannot provide a good enough service. People should be encouraged to contact their Councillors and MPs, get up petitions, and make a fuss about this. But we always seem to be expected to peddle the line that changes in service are actually ‘improvements’ and to imply that people were receiving over-generous levels of support. Let’s try a bit of honesty for a change!