A case for sustainable funding for adult social care

  • By London Councils

This report by London Councils and supported by Ernst and Young describes collaborative research undertaken to explore the scale of the funding pressures on adult social care and the extent to which these could be mitigated through achieving greater efficiencies in the way that social care is managed, procured and delivered.

Adult social care is one of the largest spend areas for local authorities across the country. However, adult social care budgets have not kept pace with the growing demand for social care services. The Local Government Association found that social care is absorbing a rising proportion of the resources available to councils. They estimate that spending on other council services will drop by 66 per cent in cash terms by the end of the decade, from £24.5 billion in 2010­ to £8.4 billion in 2019/20 to accommodate the rising costs of adult care. This is the equivalent of an 80 per cent real terms cut.
Local authorities in London spend approximately 33 per cent (£2.8 billion) of their overall budgets on adult social care services and this is expected to increase as a result of demographic pressures. Demographic changes have been a key driver for reform in the sector. Demand in the adult social care sector is expected to increase over the coming years. It is projected that there will be an increase in demand among 18­64 year­olds with disabilities and also an increase in the very elderly as more people than ever are living beyond 85.

In London, the number of people aged 65 or over is expected to increase by nearly 50,000 between 2012 and 2017. Local authorities are already struggling to meet the needs of all those people who require social services intervention. Today, of 2 million older people in England with care­related needs nearly 800,000 receive no support of any kind from public or private sector agencies. In light of the difficult economic climate, more people are likely to seek support who previously may have managed on their own leading to an increase in demand.

The critical message to note in this report is that, despite the most optimistic potential savings being achieved by boroughs, the current funding gap in adult social care would still not be addressed without the government increasing borough funding allocations.

The funding gap in adult social care in London by 2017/18 is estimated to be at least £907 million.

The full report is available to download here.