The one issue that threatens to keep me awake at night is funding for adult social care and learning disability. Closely followed by children’s services of course.
In Cambridgeshire we are facing a funding perfect storm. The numbers of people who need our services are growing very quickly, central government is cutting back our funding and at the same time indicating it does not want us to raise money locally through the council tax. And, we have a statutory responsibility to provide our services.
Conclusion, the current system is broken ad needs fixing now. I spoke at the LGA conference on the matter and continue to draw the matter to the attention of ministers. It sort of feels like living on a cliff edge that is eroding. You know you will fall off the cliff if you don’t do something but no one wants or is able to help.
We can continue to improve our efficiency but the short fall in funding goes way beyond that. We need a new system of funding which must include better joint funding with the NHS.
If we don’t sort this out soon in a very short time all local authorities funding will go just on social care leaving nothing for all the other services we provide. The very function and shape of local authorities is under threat. Some might say that is a good thing but local government gives local people a choice on how services are delivered and makes it accountable to local people.
The problem, as I see it, is that social care is expensive and is provided to individuals when they are least able to lobby for funding. We must all rase the profile of this issue and lobby government for a rethink of funding.
I would commend you all to write to your MP expressing your views.