A children’s charity is taking High Court action against the government over its claims that some protections of children in care are “myths”. The Article 39 charity is seeking a judicial review of Department for Education guidance to English councils responsible for vulnerable children.
The “myth-busting guide” suggests some duties around social worker visits, protections for missing children and care leavers’ support can be cut back. DfE lawyers approved the guide.
The guide, which was published last summer, came from the DfE’s innovation unit, which encourages new ways of working in children’s social care. It covers the interpretation of legal protections for children in care, care leavers, children who are in custody on remand, and children who go missing or run away.
It comes at a time when local authorities are struggling to pay for support for children in need of protection, with a predicted £2bn shortfall in children’s services budgets by 2020.
Release from some of these duties may save them money in the short t
After a decade of deep and sustained reductions to local government budgets, councils across the country must find further savings next year as main grant funding, the money local authorities receive from central government to provide services, is cut by a further £1.3billion (or 36%).
HuffPost UK has been exploring how the loss of individual services at a local level link up to paint a national portrait of austerity in our series What It’s Like To Lose. As part of that, we have asked council leaders what it is like to sit at that table and decide where to put the black lines.
The task was described by one former Labour finance chief as “brutal” while another Conservative town hall boss said in some ways the role was “a poisoned chalice”.
It does show that we are really, really short of money that we’re actually doing this. I mean there is no money.Richard Cornelius, Conservative leader of Barnet Council
Local authorities have already lost 60 per cent of their central government funding over the last decade, substantially more than any other area of government.
And it is in the loss of valued frontline community services that the impact of this austerity drive is most keenly felt by communities across England.
Regardless of their political stripes, the council leaders each called on central government to invest in local government saying the cuts have now gone far enough. But some were keen to say that this should not be at the expense of further borrowing by government.
So acute are the financial challenges that even the most basic services – such as libraries, school lollipop patrols, street lighting, road repairs, cemetery maintenance, gritting – are now being considered for savings.
HuffPost UK delved into reduction proposals at five local authorities across the country, and found all of these services mentioned in the various plans.
So the ‘LGA is calling for councils’ funding problems to be addressed through a government spending review expected in spring 2019, which is likely to set out public services funding plans over the four years to 2023.’. However, by then will there be any councils left, especially for social care.
Will the funding commence in 2019 or much later, when it should have commenced from 2017 or much earlier.
Again, those who can least afford it are being left to suffer, where is the quality of life.
Council cuts are putting the vulnerable at risk, Tory peer says
LGA chief says austerity could damage local authorities ‘beyond recognition’
Local authorities have reached the point where relentless financial cutbacks are putting the wellbeing of vulnerable adults and children at risk, the Conservative leader of the Local Government Association (LGA) has warned.
The Tory peer Lord Porter said that after eight years of austerity during which £16bn has been stripped from municipal budgets in England, councils risked being “damaged beyond recognition” and communities depleted of vital services.
An £8bn black hole in council budgets would open up by 2023 unless ministers stepped in to close the gap between spiralling demand for adult and children’s social care services and shrinking town hall incomes, he said.
“We’ve reached a point where councils will no longer be able to support our residents as they expect, including our most vulnerable,” Porter added.
Choosing adult social care in England is one of the biggest sources of stress compared to other key life events, according to a survey of 1,000 people carried out for the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The findings come as the quality regulator is raising public awareness about how its inspection findings can help support people in making these important decisions.
The survey findings, out today, reveal that seven in ten (70%) adults who were responsible for choosing care in a care home or at home – either for themselves or a loved one – over the last three years have found it more stressful than choosing their child’s nursery or school, or a venue for their wedding or civil partnership.
52% of people surveyed had cited choosing a care home and 31% had cited choosing care at home in their top three most stressful life decisions.
People’s experiences varied across the country, with the highest proportion of people in the North East (60%), Yorkshire and Humber (56%) and the North West and East Midlands (both 54%) saying that choosing a care home was their most stressful life decision.
This year’s winter health crisis should incentivise government to fully fund our social care system, council leaders urged today.
The Local Government Association, which represents 370 councils in England and Wales, said there cannot be a sustainable NHS without a sustainable social care system. Urgent new funding to address the annual social care funding gap, which will reach £2.3 billion by 2020, is needed to avoid an all-year round NHS crisis, it is warning today.
Council leaders say urgent action is needed to plug this social care funding gap to help alleviate the pressure on hospitals and avoid people being admitted to hospital in the first place. This will free up hospital beds and reduce pressures on the NHS.
Councils have also been working hard ahead of the winter to help reduce delayed transfers of care from hospital.
With the social care green paper not due until summer this year, the LGA is urging the Government to use the final Local Government Finance Settlement to find genuinely new money for social care. This will improve collaborative efforts to help prevent further crises in the NHS.
Ahead of this week’s Autumn Budget, Community Care highlights the main pressures facing social care for children and adults
by Gordon Carson & Luke Stevenson
To stake their claims to receive more funding in next week’s Autumn Budget, children’s and adults’ social care leaders and experts have submitted a series of requests to the chancellor, Philip Hammond, as the sector tries to convince the government of the scale and scope of the crises facing the sector.
Here, we’ve picked out some of the key messages and numbers from their submissions and other reports, ahead of the chancellor’s speech on Wednesday (22 November).
Children’s social care:
25% – the real terms cut in central government funding for children’s services, from £10 billion to £7.6 billion, from 2010-11 to 2015-16. Spending on services by local authorities has fallen from £10 billion to £8.4 billion (Source: Turning the Tide)
40% – the reduction in local authorities’ early help services since 2010-11 (Source: Turning the Tide)
7% – the increase in crisis support spending over the same period (Source: Turning the Tide)
29% – the predicted cut in funding for children’s services from central government by 2020. The most deprived councils had already had to cut funding six times more than the least-deprived areas (Source: Turning the Tide)
23% – the level of spending cuts made in the most deprived local authorities (Source: Turning the Tide)
40% – the proportion of council leaders who said they were unable to meet one or more statutory duties for children (Source: National Children’s Bureau)
The Local Government Association, responding to the report, said councils had worked hard to minimise the impact of cuts, but the increase in numbers of children in care and referrals to children’s services had made this harder to maintain.
Richard Watts, chair of the Local Government Association’s children and young people board, said: “With such high demand for child protection services, councils have been forced to scale back the early help that can make such a difference in reducing the need for this support in the first place.
“This report suggests that government funding for early intervention has fallen by £1.7 billion since 2010, leaving local councils with the impossible task of attempting to continue delivering these services while also providing help and protection to the growing number of children at immediate risk of harm.”
He called on the government to use the Autumn Budget to fully fund children’s services. The association has previously warned about a £2 billion funding gap in children’s services by 2020.
Adults’ social care:
£2.5 billion – the funding gap facing adult social care in 2019-20 (source: a pre-Budget report published by The King’s Fund, Nuffield Foundation and The Health Foundation, which said social care “remains on the brink of crisis”)
Although the government announced an extra £2 billion for adult social care in the Spring Budget, the Local Government Association has said this is not enough to deal with all immediate and short-term pressures on adult social care, and highlighted that the funding stops at the end of 2019-20.
Although the adult social care council tax precept, which enables local authorities to raise council tax bills by 3% in 2017-18 and a further 3% 2018-19 to help fund adult social care, was a “welcome short-term measure”, the LGA said extra council tax income “will not bring in anywhere near enough money to alleviate the growing pressure on social care both now and in the future”.
It also said the government’s main vehicle for driving integration, the Better Care Fund (BCF), had “lost credibility and is no longer fit for purpose”. Its focus on reducing pressure on NHS acute services “is detracting from local initiatives to support social care and stabilise the perilously fragile social care provider market”.
John Pring Disability News Service 14th September 2017
About 900,000 disabled people will see their weekly incomes fall by at least £50 a week by 2020, because of the continuing impact of the government’s welfare reforms, according to new research.
The research by the consultancy Policy in Practice found that, of 7.2 million working-age, low-income households, more than two-fifths of those containing a working-age disabled person would lose at least £50 a week, compared with November 2016.
The report, The Cumulative Impact Of Welfare Reform: A National Picture, says the impact of measures introduced after November 2016 will see the average low-income household containing a working-age disabled person lose £51.47 a week by 2020, compared with an average loss of £35.82 for households not containing a disabled person.
This will come on top of an average weekly loss of more than £20 for low-income households containing a working-age disabled person as a result of welfare reforms introduced pre-November 2016 – such as the benefit cap, cuts to housing benefit and the bedroom tax – although this figure does not take account of rising living costs.
Responding to an Independent Age survey showing the majority of MPs think the social care system is not fit for purpose, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board,said:
“It is encouraging to see so many MPs across all political parties recognising the need for action to find a sustainable solution to the adult social care funding crisis.
“The extra £2 billion for social care over the next few years is a step in the right direction, but it is only one-off funding which reduces each year. Vital services caring for elderly and disabled people still face an annual £2.3 billion funding gap by 2020, which will continue to grow.
“It is absolutely critical that the Government brings forward its Green Paper on the future of social care and works with local government leaders to address the issue of long-term funding and also create the conditions necessary to ensure the development of the right kind of care and support services.
“We strongly support a cross-party consensus on adult social care and councils are firmly committed to making this happen.
“With councils facing further funding pressures and growing demand for support by the end of the decade and beyond, this is the best way to ensure we will find a solution that ensures our future generations enjoy a care system which doesn’t just help them out of bed and gets them washed
Funding cuts have pushed children’s social services to “breaking point” with action only being taken to protect youngsters once they are at imminent risk of harm, council leaders warn today. Painting a damning picture of the state of children’s social care, a report from the Local Government Association (LGA) says cuts to early intervention services have led to an “unprecedented surge” in demand for urgent child protection support.