Councils are introducing tough internal limits on social care spending to avoid ‘Barnet graph of doom’ scenarios in which such spending takes up a progressively larger proportion of income, LGC has learned.
Worcestershire CC has effectively capped its social care spending by setting an expectation that its adult social care budget will remain at 42% of the total in 2016-17, despite the prospect of rising demand.
In practice this could mean an £11m cut to the service’s budget, according to Dr Richard Harling, director of adult services and health at the authority.
He told LGC: “It’s an ambition to limit expenditure in adult and children’s social care to about current levels with budgets set accordingly.
“So rather than follow the trajectory of the ‘Barnet graph of doom’ with a progressively greater proportion of the council’s budget spent on social care, our adult social care budget is expected to remain at 42% of the total council budget.”
Essex CC has introduced a similar “cap”, the authority’s chief executive Joanna Killian said during a session at the County Councils Network conference last week.
Ms Killian said she was also concerned about the costs councils would face in implementing the proposals in the Care Bill which is currently before Parliament.
She said her authority would have to spend about £26m to implement this legislation.
LGC is researching the costs of social care and will report findings in next week’s issue.