News roundup: Social care crisis


We’ve had an unpalatable array of news headlines about the significant pressures vulnerable children and families are facing. Not going to pretend, this post doesn’t make for pleasant reading …

The Care Quality Commission regulator has warned that Social care cuts are taking English services to a tipping point.

Birmingham city council’s chief executive, Mark Rogers, said in an article published by the Guardian that there could be “catastrophic consequences” for some people in the city because “years of cuts have forced it to slash funding for key services for vulnerable people“. Read more: here

CCN: Funding mismatch has put council services at ‘significant crossroads’

‘England’s county leaders have warned that the “fundamental mismatch” between funding and demand for social care has put councils at a “significant crossroads” when it comes to guaranteeing the sustainability of statutory services.

In its local government finance settlement submission, the County Councils Network (CCN) has called for a long-term solution including “genuinely new funding” in March’s Budget …

Read full piece at source: CCN: Funding mismatch has put council services at ‘significant crossroads’

Foster carer fee cuts plan faces extra scrutiny

‘Contentious plans by Bradford council to cut foster carer allowances to the national recommended minimum have been called in for scrutiny by opposition councillors.

The proposed cuts, which the national Fostering Network charity described as a “drastic” step, were unanimously approved by Bradford council’s cabinet last week. Unions and carers warned that the move risked depriving vulnerable children or driving carers away altogether.

Meanwhile legal experts questioned the rationale for the cuts put forward by the council’s officers, namely that fostering rates needed to be aligned to adoption, special guardianship and residence allowances in order to avoid the risk of a judicial review. In the wake of a 2010 court case, some local authorities have been raising – but not reducing – various rates to bring them into line, and solicitor Nigel Priestley said the timing of the cuts smacked of a “calculated decision” to save money …

Read full piece at source: Foster carer fee cuts plan faces extra scrutiny

Westminster council may send homeless families to Coventry

‘Westminster City Council has announced plans to send homeless families to live in temporary accommodation to properties as far away as the West Midlands.
In a cabinet member’s report on the council’s homelessness policies, the local authority has said that rising homelessness, complete with housing benefit cuts and rent rises, has left it with no option but to send more families into affordable, private accommodation outside of the capital.

Currently, the average waiting times for a social home in the borough ranges from three years for a studio flat to up to 25 years for a four-bedroom house, the report said.
According to the policy, Westminster’s homeless households will be put into three priority bands with families either prioritised for housing in the borough, temporary housing elsewhere in Greater London or in south-east England and beyond depending on their needs.

Westminster’s cabinet member for housing, Cllr Daniel Astaire, told the Guardian that the local authority faced difficult choices and believed the decision to be the best option …

Read full piece at source: Westminster council may send homeless families to Coventry

Fattened precept will still ‘do nothing’ to address London social care gap

‘London Councils has warned against the capital’s local government finance settlement, advising that the ability to raise social care precepts of up to 3% will still “do nothing” to address the region’s £200m annual funding gap by 2019-20.
In an executive committee meeting set for early next week, borough council leaders in the capital are set to discuss the effects on London of the finance settlement, which was set out by communities secretary Sajid Javid in December and included an option for councils to raise their social care precept to 3% for the next two years.

Board meeting papers released ahead of the meeting argued that even if all London boroughs take maximum advantage of the precept, the capital will still have a cumulative funding gap of £700m by 2019-20 …

Read full piece at source: Fattened precept will still ‘do nothing’ to address London social care gap



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