Councils ‘struggling to meet social services demands’

15 Aug 18

Financial pressures on English councils mean they are struggling to provide a ‘good’ standard of social care provision for children, an independent think-tank has highlighted.

Analysing Ofsted figures, Localis has shown more children’s services were labelled as ‘inadequate’ rather than ‘good or better’ in all quarters but the first last year.

[See graph below].

Localis graph 1

“Many authorities are not reaching a good standard of social care provision for children,” the report On the ropes: social care provision under austerity, out today, stated.

“Given the rise in looked-after children and the broader contextual factor of rising child poverty, this fact is one of the main reasons to end the budget squeeze on local authorities.”

Looking at NHS data, the think-tank found councils had managed to keep high levels of satisfaction amongst adult social care users.

[See graph below]

Localis graph 2

“That most users of adult social care remain satisfied with their care and support despite the reduction of the means to supply it is of course a credit to adult social care service directorates working to find a way to deliver this crucial service under pressure,” the report said.  But, it added, “cracks are showing” in the area of adult social care.

NHS figures also showed there was an average drop of 3% of councils in England between 2011-12 and 2016-17 able to provide adequate care in ‘stable and suitable’ accommodation for users of secondary mental health services.

With the rise in rough sleeping and increased strain on primary mental health care, using secondary mental health services in ‘stable and suitable’ accommodation was “imperative”, the think-tank said.

Localis concluded in the report authorities had done “remarkable work” under great strain but added: “The state of children’s services and increasing problems with providing proper care to people with adult social care needs calls for a change.

“For the social care to be sustainable, local authorities need better funding from government and, crucially, the ability to raise money themselves.”

The think-tank called for government to give local authorities greater powers to raise taxes and increase spending.

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