William Eichler 22 February 2019

Counties urge Whitehall to ‘look again’ at social care funding formula

Counties urge Whitehall to ‘look again’ at social care funding formula image

County councils have voiced concerns over the Government’s proposed formula for funding adult social care saying they fear it fails to recognise the demand for services in shire areas.

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.

‘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,’ said CCN chairman Cllr Paul Carter.

‘I am confident that the direction of travel is inherently based on the principle of evidence and fairness.

‘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.’

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