This area of the Council includes services such as Adult Social Care, Children's Social Care, support for vulnerable families, Education and Public Health. Key priorities in this area include:
- supporting children to have the best start in life
- ensuring the safety of young people and adults
- supporting independence for vulnerable adults
- supporting healthy communities.
Overall the budget for this area is £188.1 million a year. The Council has previously consulted on savings for 2019-20 of £3.1million (1.6 per cent of the budget in this area).
This will largely be achieved by putting in place services that prevent the need for more expensive and intensive support later on.
Recently, central Government allowed councils to raise Council Tax by two per cent a year to help meet the pressures in Adult Social Care but it is unclear whether this will be offered to councils after 2020.
To put this into perspective, we currently support over 6,000 adults with social care needs and almost 2,000 children in need of specialist help and protection. The money needed for this support varies, but to meet complex needs by securing residential care for children costs around £160,000 per child each year.
The price of this care has risen by 6 per cent in the last 12 months. Also, for example, the average cost of packages of support for learning disability can vary greatly but on average is around £38,000 per year for each individual.
The numbers and complexity of people who need our support continues to grow. While preventive services are making a difference, further money is needed to support vulnerable people. Additional money of £5 million is being proposed reflecting your priority to support the most vulnerable residents.
Further savings of £530,000 (0.3 per cent) have been proposed to help meet these budget pressures. This is the smallest reduction across the Council, reflecting the importance of these services.
Further proposals under consideration
Excluding the technical changes listed in the Policy proposals table.
A1. More investment in services for vulnerable children:
We have a moral and legal responsibility to protect children from harm. We are seeing rising numbers of vulnerable children and families with complex needs requiring our support Addressing these needs will cost an additional £619,000 in 2019-20.
A2. Meeting increasing demand for home-to-school transport:
Pupil numbers continue to grow, meaning more pressure on the home-to-school transport budget. There are also more children with complex needs that are entitled to travel assistance as well as an increase in the complexity of children's needs.
We need more transport solutions (such as adapted vehicles, passenger assistants and low/single occupancy vehicles) to look after these children safely. This, plus some children travelling further for a suitable school, has increased the average contract cost over and above any savings that can made through changing contracts. Overall this will cost an additional £337,000 a year from 2019-20.
A3. Review of the Contact Service:
The Contact Service means children who are looked after by the Council have contact with their families. Maintaining contact is an important part of helping and supporting children in our care, providing, of course, that it is safe and appropriate for them to do so.
There is an opportunity to review the locations and the way the service is organised, to make it more efficient without reducing the level of support. Overall this review could save £120,000 by 2019-20.
A4. A new way to support care leavers:
The Council has a duty to support children who leave care to ensure they can go on to be independent adults. A Leaving Care Service is in place, which provides help around things like housing, employment and general advice on moving towards adulthood.
By using local housing organisations more effectively, with daily living support from a dedicated provider, the Council could avoid using more expensive agency providers. This change would not impact quality but could reduce costs by £220,000 in 2019-20.
A5. A new way to support children with disabilities:
We have reviewed services for children with disabilities and found opportunities to join up services and make the best use of the Pinewood facility, which is a fully accessible centre offering short breaks for disabled children, young people and their families.
The review also identified further opportunities to offer Direct Payments - where families are given the funding directly to support their needs. These changes have not reduced the quality of services but have meant that budgets for support are underspent. As a result a saving of £90,000 is being proposed for 2019-20.
A6. Investing in young adults with learning disabilities:
More young people are moving into adulthood with learning disabilities. To meet this rising demand, the Council proposed to invest £1.38 million to ensure that high quality support is in place.
A7. Investing in Adult Social Care:
The Council and its partners play a key role in supporting the health, wellbeing and independence of local residents through Adult Social Care. The numbers of older and disabled people requiring increasingly complex care is growing. This, with the additional pressures on care contracts, including the national living wage, has generated pressure on budgets.
To meet this rising demand, and to enable investment in the redesign of services, the Council plans to invest £2.67 million.
A8. A review of the Direct Payment process for Adults:
The support needs of some adults are arranged by carers rather than by the Council. This is facilitated by the Direct Payments process. A review of this service would include the annual audit process and maximisation of unused funding. Overall the review could save £100,000 by 2019-20 but there will be no reduction in the level of support provided to carers.