The County Councils Network (CCN) has said that Whitehall’s latest proposals on the fair funding review is ‘heading in a positive direction’ and is built on the twin principles of ‘evidence and fairness’.
However, CCN called on the Government to ‘look again’ at the proposed adult social care formula and to work with counties, which are particularly vulnerable to adverse changes in the formula because of their elderly populations.
The Network’s response to the fair funding review warned that the proposed social care formula would ‘potentially maintain existing patterns of funding’ rather than meeting the real needs of the care sector.
CCN said that the proposed formula’s use of the ‘utilisation’ assumption as a proxy for need could fail to meet today’s real demands for services, including ‘unmet need’ for services and the true cost of service delivery, particularly in working age adults.
On a separate issue, CCN’s response also outlined county leaders’ willingness to include home to school transport in the foundation formula – rather than a stand-alone service-specific formula – alongside concessionary fares.
They also asked the Government to consider whether deprivation should be included in the foundation formula.
Cllr Paul Carter, chairman of the County Councils Network, said: “We are entering the final stages of a review that could provide a golden opportunity to reset the dial and create a funding system that can truly stand the test of time; eradicating the unfair nature of the present methodology.
“However, if we are to see this review through – and if we are to grasp this opportunity – compromise and pragmatism on all sides of the local government sector, will be necessary.
“At the same time, the uncertainty over the final adult social care formula is causing many in the shire counties concern. Initial proposals could fail to recognise the demand in counties from their significantly greater proportion of elderly and frail, alongside the enormous variability in demand for adult learning disabilities support. With adult social care the biggest cost-driver across local government, it is imperative that ministers arrive at a formula that reflects the evidence and we are asking them to look again at this.” ‘However, if we are to see this review through — and if we are to grasp this opportunity — compromise and pragmatism on all sides of the local government sector, will be necessary. We hope other parts of the sector will do likewise.’