Abstracts: July 14th, 2016

A survey of social services directors has revealed a depressing picture following sustained budget reductions and a lack of confidence in making further cuts.

The annual ADASS Budget Survey is an authoritative analysis of the state of adult social care finances drawn from the experiences of current leaders in adult social care. It provides in-depth intelligence on how adult social care is responding to the multiple challenges of meeting increased expectations and need, whilst managing reducing resources in an environment where the provider and labour markets are fragile.

There are greater numbers of older and disabled people needing essential care and support and their needs are increasingly complex. To maintain care at the same level as last year would require more than an extra £1.1bn. This year, budgets for social care have increased slightly although there is very wide variation between individual councils.

The survey explores Directors’ views of how councils are reconciling the growing numbers of people, often with increasingly complex needs, requiring care and support with the significant and sustained reductions in the funding available. The survey data sets out the concerns of councils in making increasingly difficult choices and their attempts to minimise impacts upon the front line services that are so valued and necessary for those needing them.

Richard Humphries, Assistant Director of Policy, the King’s Fund, said:“This survey is an authoritative analysis of the state of adult social care.“Our assessment of these findings is that the immediate prospects for the social care system, on which older and disabled people depend, are grave and deteriorating. The diminishing confidence that local authorities can meet their most basic legal duties to provide care for the most vulnerable citizens should be a huge source of public concern. It is clear that measures such as the social care precept and the Better Care Fund are an inadequate response to the widening gulf between need and resources.

“Plummeting levels of confidence among Directors in their ability to make further savings is alarming. As the risk of more care providers going out of business intensifies and with the NHS in deep financial trouble, the need for a clear strategy to place the funding of these essential services on a sustainable long term footing is now even more urgent.”

The Survey is published by Directors of Adult Social services