• Devon County Council agreed to talks with local MPs amid £2m projected overspend

    19th January 2021 | News | Claire
  • Devon County Council’s cabinet has agreed to initiate talks with local MPs, following my recommendation agreed at the November Adult Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee.

    Adult social care has been in a hugely precarious financial position, following what is now a decade of government funding cuts. As a result far fewer people are in receipt of personal care and unpaid carers are more stretched than ever before. The pandemic of course, has made a very hard situation even tougher.

    The papers at the November scrutiny meeting quoted from a national survey of councils.

    The key messages from the survey were:

     

    • Without significant financial intervention from the government, the lives of people who use social care and their family members will be seriously impacted in terms of their lives and wellbeing

     

    • Only four per cent of respondents are fully confident that their budget will be sufficient to meet their statutory duties this year, down from 35 per cent in 2019/20

     

    • The actual costs to local authorities and adult social care providers of the pandemic will far outstrip the Emergency Funding made available by the government to date

     

    • The risk of already fragile care markets failing has significantly heightened as a result of the impacts of covid-19

     

     The papers also stated that Adult Care and Health was showing an overspend of £2.276m before management action and strategic savings.

    I proposed that the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee recommend that the council write to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care requesting an adequate social care settlement. This was seconded by Cllr Martin Shaw.

    This recommendation was considered by Cabinet in December and it was resolved that the portfolioholder for Health and Social Care raise the issue with local MPs during a series of meetings – and write to the Secretary of State for Health if this was necessary.

    The budget papers for the next Health and Adult Care Scrutiny meeting on Tuesday 26 January state:

    “…. significant unknown risks remain in respect of the cost of future pandemic response
    measures, ensuring the ongoing viability and sustainability of the independent care sector, and sufficiency of government Covid response funding.”

    See more here Adult Care and Health Budget 21-22 Scrutiny pack.pdf (devon.gov.uk)

    This is an incredibly important issue and one that I will continue to monitor and raise.

    Pic: Speaking at last year’s Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee’s budget meeting.