‘Emergency’ government funding of £1bn should be provided to councils in their 2017/18 budgets to help stabilise social care and prevent an imminent crisis in the short-term, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) has said.
Without the new funds, ADASS warned, local authorities would ‘fail to meet their statutory duties’.
The parlous state of the care market is reflected in a recent ADASS survey which revealed nearly two-thirds (62%) of councils have had residential and nursing home closures, and over half (57%) have had care providers hand back contracts.
Councils are also expecting a combined overspend on adult social care for 2016/17 of around £441m, a vast increase on the £168m in 2015/16.
‘It is imperative that social care is treated as a national priority because current solutions go nowhere near what is needed to meet the increased needs for, and costs of, care for older and disabled people,’ said Margaret Willcox, president elect of ADASS.
‘A cumulative total of £5.5bn has been cut from council social care budgets by the end of this financial year.
‘If the huge projected council overspends of £441m cannot be funded from savings in other council services or from reserves, even greater reductions in social care services will follow in the next few months and many councils risk failing to meet their statutory duties.’
‘Emergency assistance of £1bn – which is at least what all leading sector experts say is needed to fund adult social care next year – and distributed on a needs based formula, will prevent further deterioration whilst working on a longer term solution, and would go some way towards stabilising the system for councils, providers and the NHS,’ she added.