William Eichler 02 November 2016

£500m council overspend due to social care crisis

A new survey has revealed projected council overspends of almost £500m due to the deepening crisis in adult social care.

The snapshot survey of 129 of the 152 directors of adult social services in England revealed councils are planning to use their reserves and other one-off funding to plug the huge financial gap.

It also found that 62% of councils have had residential and nursing home closures, and 57% have had care providers hand back contracts in the last six months.

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS)—who carried out the survey—estimated the closure of services and handing back of contracts has affected 10,820 people using council-funded care.

The ADASS survey, which saw 84% of directors respond, revealed nearly four in five councils (79%) have quality concerns with one or more home care and/or residential and nursing care providers (84%).

Adult social care is facing severe difficulties. In their submission to the Treasury ahead of the Autumn Statement, the Local Government Association (LGA) said social care for the elderly and disabled could be facing a potential funding gap of at least £2.6bn by the end of the decade.

They also estimated the immediate pressures threatening the stability of the care provider market could amount to at least £1.3bn.

ADASS warned the situation is made worse by pressures from the NHS. They said some projected overspends reflect a reduction in funding from the NHS to social care.

‘This survey paints a picture of adult social care verging ever nearer to a point of crisis,’ said immediate past president Ray James.

‘The funding gaps are a huge concern for the sector because the impact this is having on the lives of thousands of older and disabled people, their families and carers, is both significant and extremely worrying.

‘Adult social care is entering a “perfect storm” which is impacting on vulnerable people who are getting less help and whose need for care won’t stop.

‘Urgent and significant government investment is needed now to address funding for the sector, or thousands of people who rely, or hope to rely, on receiving care, will suffer as a result.’

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