Local Authorities Running Out of Options?
Care England, the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care has calculated that around a third of Local Authorities, 56 in total, will be unable to raise much needed social care funds via the social care precept in 2019/20.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says:
“These Local Authorities have exhausted their Social Care Precept flexibility over the course of the last 2 years and with budgets being tightened it is hard to envisage where the necessary extra funds will come from in 2019/20. Care England has long called for the ability to plan for the long term in order to have some stability in the sector both in terms of providers investing in services, but crucially for those in receipt of services having certainty over the services that they require remaining in place”.
The Adult Social Care Precept scheme was first introduced for the Council Tax year 2016/17 where councils could raise the precept by 2% specifically for adult social care; the scheme was updated in 2017 to allow councils to raise the precept by a total of 6% between 2017/18 and 2019/20. If councils exceeded this amount, they would be required to call for a local referendum.
Martin Green continues:
“Whilst it is commendable that councils have used the full flexibility of the Adult Social Care Precept to meet pressures, the outlook for 2019/20 looks very bleak and the Government needs to step-in urgently to avert care home closures as providers struggle with rising costs and low fees paid by councils”.
Care England is collating Freedom of Information requests across 152 councils to gather data on commissioning activity for 2018/19. This data is being collected on the themes of fees paid by councils for residential, nursing home and supported living care, as well as use of resources and placement activity across older people and learning disability care. Once collated, Care England will triangulate responses with other data such as quality ratings, projections on bed numbers and staffing, and analysis of council’s spending plans to build up a comprehensive picture of how each council is responding to the challenges and opportunities of supporting a sustainable local care market