Hounslow Council


Agenda item

Impact of Savings Upon Key Vulnerable Groups.

Consideration of the impact of savings over time on services to support vulnerable groups in the borough.

Minutes:

Members received two presentations on the impact of savings over time on Adult Social Care and Children’s Social Care and Education. Cllr Kaur introduced the first and highlighted the following:

 

·         The Adult Social Care budget is split between ASC and Commissioning. There is a prediction of a 2 million overspend in Quarter 1. Demand varies for ASC and difficult to predict.

 

·         Grants and additional funds and the implementation of the ASC precept has reduced savings by circa £1.8 million in 2017/18. This is not additional money however. It has kept the budget to where things were.

 

·         There are 5 key financial risks areas for the ASC budget that has significant impact. 1. Demand and Demographic Pressures (such as children with complex needs).  2 Complexity of Need (this is on the increase and a national trend) 3. Improved better care fund requirements 4. Policy Change- (the deprivation of liberty of safeguards- as people lose capacity L/As have responsibility.). 5. Market Pressures. The ASC budget has had to deliver £3.1 million of savings as a part of MTFS. A lot of benchmarking is done with other boroughs to deal with market pressures and financial analysis.

The discussion surrounded the following below points:

 

·         Members discussed the 19% rise in children with SEN needs in the last 5 years. It was noted that LBH has quite a large number compared to other Boroughs. The Council is also undertaking work in appropriate diagnosis.

 

·         Members raised questions around whether there is to be more investment in dementia. Cllr Kaur responded that there is the improved better care fund and funds cannot be placed in another criteria area than what the government requires. The one-off Adult Social Care grant will be used across all of our Budget and one element of that will be used for people with dementia. CCGs do invest and has dementia as a high priority. There is a joint strategy with the Council and the CCG and there is a lot of work that occurs around dementia. Carers are eligible to an assessment and henceforth a possible entitlement, but lots of carers do not take their full entitlement. Cllr Kaur stated that she can provide numbers of people with dementia in the future via the performance reports and that information on services that are commissioned for people with dementia can be obtained from commissioning and provided in the future. Members asked that this and details on falls, be incorporated into a wider presentation to be given on prevention. The Chair requested that benchmarking be included in the future presentation.

 

·         Members sought clarification as to why there was nothing in the presentation about prevention. Cllr Kaur made the point that there are many areas of work and the essence is prevention and extra provision. There are 180 extra places in care housing that surround prevention. There are aids, adaptations, link line as examples. Cllr Kaur commented that she could return at a future meeting again to provide a presentation around prevention but the presentation Members have been given surrounds the budget and savings as requested.

 

·         Members raised a question about new duties regarding Deprivation of Liberty safeguards (DoLs), and specifically the financial cost to the Council. Nigel Howcutt stated that the projections are that the costs to the Council could be in the region of £300k and that these costs could rise depending on the detail of the policy.

Resolved:

·         The Committee notes the presentation on the impact of savings on Adult Social Care.

·         The Committee requests that a future presentation be provided that covers prevention, dementia and benchmarking.

 

Cllr Bruce gave the second presentation highlighted the following:

 

·         There are pressures on the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG). The DSG comes in three sections to the Council- schools block, high needs (SEN) and early years which is the under 5 year olds. The big pressure to the Council is the high needs area. Savings have been made are the reduction in the number of children who are going into costed placements. A problem coming up is the new national funding formula, therefore Council can’t touch high needs monies.

 

·         Next financial year 2018/9, the budget pressures to our schools and to the Council are £4.6 million. That money is not available within the DSG. Meetings are to be held with the schools to deal with this financial pressure. A further financial pressure projected is the £1.7 million variance in early intervention and education.

 

·         In the area of care systems there are issues and pressures and overspend. Children Services has £2.6 million in savings in the MTFS to deliver in 2017/18. Historical overspends in SEN Transport is to be rectified. There is a need to increase the numbers of Foster carers to reduce budget pressures. LBH lower than others in looked after children volumes.

 

·         Children’s Social Care and Education is managing the balance between prevention and service delivery. There has been some consultancy work done by Impower looking at where savings can be made, which will shortly be reported to Cabinet. LBH will be looking across the Council and Financial services to ascertain where savings can be made.

Members had questions and discussion surrounding the following:   

 

·         How will specialist care not be at risk with the savings that are to be made. Cllr Bruce responded that financial pressures are due to under 5s saving shortfall. Impower has made several recommendations that are positive and service delivery must change. There will be a savings to the children services rationalisation.

 

·         Members raised a question around free schools and academies and are asked as to whether these are an issue financially. Cllr Bruce responded that free schools and academies have worked close with the education partnership. There are funding issues regarding free schools but this is not at the LBH level, it is national overspending in national government where instead that funding could go to LAs.

 

·         Members discussed the Troubled families grant and contribution that has made to savings as it is payment by results.

 

Resolved:

·         The Committee notes the presentation on the impact of savings on Children’s Social Care and Education

 

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