Finance chiefs have proposed a three-step framework to help councils deliver good value for public money and improve outcomes for vulnerable social care service users.
The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) has set the framework out in a new report – Planning to deliver good value in demand-led services.
The report seeks to enable councils to plan for an uncertain future by implementing good practice, delivering better value and improving operational and financial resilience.
As a result of efficiencies and short-term decisions taken by local authorities in response to tightening budgets, spending on social care services has reduced by 3% in real terms over the last decade.
The three steps involve first assessing how demand and costs are changing, then exploring how to reduce these pressures – which is only possible with the third step, providing the right investment to deliver.
The guidance also emphasises the importance of bridging the gap between plans and service-level realities, as well as the role of business partnering.
It also draws on the experiences of several local authorities who have successfully delivered good value in the areas of adult social care, children’s services and special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
‘Planning in demand-led services like social care is challenging at the best of times, never mind under the current circumstances. However, with increasing pressure on resources and tight budgets, the need to do more with less is ever greater,’ said CIPFA’s health and social care policy manager, Dr Eleanor Roy.
‘While additional funding and longer term reform are required, there is always room for improvement and to learn from the experience of others. This framework is intended to support a realistic picture of demand to enable services to remain within planned budgets and to help ensure their sustainability going forward.’
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