To receive an overview of the Adult Social Care Budget.
(Presentation to follow)
The Sub-Committee considered a presentation delivered by the Executive Director for Health, Wellbeing and Adults, Guy Van Dichele on the budget challenges facing the Adults service. A copy of the presentation can be found here: –
Following the presentation the Sub-Committee was given the opportunity to ask questions about the information provided. The first question related to direct payments and what the Council was doing to encourage users to opt for this approach. It was advised that at present there was a mix of people using direct payment and work was ongoing to simplify the process with support provided for users to engage with using direct payment. It was envisioned that the forthcoming Resource Allocation Programme would help to allow people to buy the right care for their needs and provide support to users in finding a Personal Assistant. Hopefully once this was in place it would increase the take up of direct payment as this approach was more cost effective as it was flexible to people’s need.
The take up of the direct payment option in Croydon may not be as high as in some other authorities who had made direct payment their default position, with users required to opt out of this approach rather than the current position in Croydon which required users to sign up for direct payment.
As it was noted that 31% of carers in the borough had been so for more than 30 years, it was questioned what the Council was doing to provide support for these individuals. It was advised that there was a network of support for carers through organisations such as the Carers Centre, with work ongoing to ensure that users understood that this service was funded by the Council. The possibility of providing small grants to carers to provide support was also being explored. It was also noted that the Council provided a series of factsheets for carers to inform them of the services available to them.
In response to a question concerning the percentage of the budget in care being spent on accommodation and food it was highlighted that the bulk of the budget arose from the cost of placements. However it was not possible to confirm the percentage spent on food as this was provided as part of the total package.
It was questioned whether the level of demand for care could be managed should free universal care be introduced. It was confirmed that this would be dependent on the funding provided as it was estimated that there was a significant amount of support being provided by unpaid carers. If care was free rather than means tested it was anticipated that there would be a substantial increase in demand.
In response to a question about the action being taken to balance the budget, it was advised that working across the Council to achieve the required savings was both important and necessary as there was a reliance on colleagues in areas such as Gateway and Housing services to ensure that savings could be achieved. Conversations were also ongoing with partners across the One Croydon Alliance as the work of the partnership had reduced hospital admissions, but in doing so had increased the pressure on social care. Following discussions a re-share agreement was reached last year with £500,000 being returned to the Council. A similar agreement had yet to be reached this year, but discussion on this were ongoing.
As it was noted that there was a lot of development taking place within the borough, it was questioned whether there had been conversations with the planners to help provide the type of housing needed to encourage elderly residents who may be living in large family homes to downsize. It was advised that a Housing Strategy was currently being prepared that would include elements that addressed provision for older people wanting to downsize. It would also include elements addressing the need for homes for people with disabilities.
At the conclusion of the item the Chair thanked the officers for the information provided in the presentation and the detailed responses to the Sub-Committee’s questions.
At the conclusion of this item the Sub-Committee reached the following conclusions:-
1. The Sub-Committee welcomed the comprehensive report provided on this item.
2. The Sub-Committee recognised that the Council was facing a significant challenge in its Adult Social Care budget.
3. There was concern that the savings being delivered through the One Croydon Alliance were not finding their way through to Social Care and as such it was agreed that this would be monitored to ensure it was being effective.