On the train to London at the moment heading for a meeting of the LG( Local Government )Group Executive. Some substantial items on the agenda including schools funding and the implications of the Health and Social Care Bill currently going through parliament for local authorities and the people we represent. However I feel I need to spend some time on yesterday and particularly on yesterday's Council Executive. There were a number of significant items discussed but I want to talk about just two, both concerning the cuts the Council is having to make.
The first concerns adult social care, an area that the Local Government Association on an all-party basis already believes to be underfunded and overstretched. Unfortunately it is such a big proportion of the Council's budget, it is impossible to make cuts on the scale required without eating into this part of the budget. The approach that is being taken is to increase what is called reablement. This is a process of supporting people in need to be more independent and thus require less from social care services. There are also increases in charges for transport making the cost to the user more akin to normal public transport prices, and small and cheaper aids will no longer be provided by the council. This is all far from ideal but the Executive accepted that the proposals put forward were a measured approach to the almost impossible position we are in, and do demonstrate us doing the best we can for the people who most need our help.
The report can be accessed at :
The other item is early years where the Executive agreed to carry out a three month consultation starting on October 3rd which aim to save £21m a year by 2015. This will involve very radical changes building on the so far successful Ardwick pilot. The Council, which incidentally only provides 11% of the daycare in the city will withdraw as a direct provider of day care but will continue to ensure all 3 and 4 year olds get the 15 hours a week free daycare they are entitled to alongside a new universal offer focusing on 0-3 year olds with the most service going to greatest need. Targeted " assertive outreach " should take the proportion of children reached from under 30% to nearer a 100% , and children centres will be maintained as community hubs. Sure Start will do what it was always intended to, give those children who need it most, the support to get a good start in live, something that's good for them, their families, and the city as a whole.
This report can be accessed at: