Whitehall chief insists councils are ‘adequately funded’

A senior civil servant has told MPs that councils are ‘adequately funded’ when it comes to social care.

Speaking in front of the public accounts committee earlier this week, the director general at Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Catherine Frances said it ‘is important that local councils take decisions about how they prioritise their spend on social care versus their other areas of prioritised spending’.

She added local authorities ‘have been gently increasing the spend on social care since 2015-16’ and there is a ‘cash-terms increase’ in the 2021-22 settlement of more than 4%.

‘Local councils will have to find their way through this,’ Ms Frances told MPs.

‘We think that they are adequately funded, but they will need to make their own decisions, as Chris [Wormald] says, to make sure that they are meeting their commitments under the Care Act. It is their statutory responsibility to do that.’

Also appearing in front of the committee was the chief executive of the Care Quality Commission, Ian Trenholm.

Mr Trenholm was quizzed on the number of care homes that have closed over the last few years.

‘We take enforcement action which results in closure on about 60 care homes a year—so in 2019 we closed 63 care homes,’ he told MPs.

‘In the same time period, 482 care homes voluntarily closed, so it is a factor of around nine times more that close in a given period than we close through enforcement action. In 2020, those figures were that 65 closed through enforcement action and only 361 voluntarily closed.’

The director general, adult social care at Department of Health and Social Care, Michelle Dyson told MPs it was up to local authorities to deal with the risks of care home closures at a local level.

‘We are not seeing anything that makes us worried at this point in time, and we are continuing to put money into the system, as I have said,’ she added.

 

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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