Social care directors issue stark budget warning

Just 4% of adult social care directors are confident that their budgets are sufficient to meet their statutory duties, according to a new report.

The second half of the Association of Adult Social Services (Adass) annual budget survey highlights the huge additional financial pressures being faced by councils because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Planned savings of £608m to balance budgets and the loss of a minimum of £190m of planned income means that only 4% of directors are confident that their budgets are sufficient to meet their statutory duties.

According to Adass, this puts the assessment of individual’s needs, safeguarding adults and provision of care and support services to older and disabled people all at risk.

The report also warns that rising cost of PPE and declining care home occupancy rates has increased the likelihood of a ‘significant number of providers, or a large provider, going out of business’.

The survey also found that three quarters (75%) of adult directors indicated that residential and nursing homes occupied by state-funded residents have seen a decline in the number of people accessing their services.

The report also recommends a ‘social care minimum wage’ as well as more funding for training and development, coupled with career progression across the in social care, social work and the NHS.

The first half of the survey was published last week and made clear that the £3.2bn of emergency funding already provided by the government will not be enough once the initial three-month period is over.

‘These reports are a wake-up call that requires a clear response,’ said Adass president, James Bullion.

‘Urgent action is needed to plug the financial black hole that has been blown in local government finances, to properly recognise and reward colleagues working in social care, stabilise providers of care and most importantly safeguard and ultimately enhance the care and support available to those of us who need it.

‘Without such action, local authorities will run out of money, care providers will go to the wall, many of us will not get the care and support we need, and the economy will take a further hit as more of us are forced to give up work to fill the caring gaps.  Prioritising social care is the right thing to do morally, ethically, economically and politically.  We must act now, for all our sakes.’

Dr Layla McCay, a director at the NHS Confederation, said the two reports ‘serve as a chilling reminder of the need to drastically overhaul how social care is funded and supported in England’.

‘Everyone in the NHS is already working incredibly hard to treat people affected by Covid-19, restart services safely, and start to manage the huge backlog of treatment that has built up – all while facing new and pre-existing financial, workforce, and many other challenges. If social care collapses, the NHS will be overwhelmed and the effects could be devastating. We cannot afford for that to happen,’ added Dr McCay.

Photo Credit – Stevepb (Pixabay)

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