Social care funding outlook 'bleak'
The social care funding picture is set to become "even bleaker" over the next two years, a survey by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) on budgets indicates.
The research suggested that plans by the association's members to save £800 million over the next year will affect services provided to older people and people with disabilities. A total of £2.68 billion will have been cut from the adult social care budget between 2011 and 2014.
ADASS president Sandie Keene said more cost-effective packages of care would be provided to many elderly or disabled people.
The survey shows 13% of the proposed cutbacks - £104 million - will lead to the direct withdrawal of services.
Mrs Keene said that without extra investment on top of what has already been pledged, "an already bleak outlook becomes even bleaker".
"Directors everywhere are well aware of the difficult economic choices the country is facing and having to make. And we are well aware of the enormous help given to our departments by inward transfers of NHS funds," she said.
"Social services departments, too, have gone many an extra mile to make their services more efficient although, as our survey shows, these efficiencies are sometimes nowhere near so 'painless' as they sometimes seem."
The research was carried out last month, with 145 of the 152 top-tier social services authorities in England taking part.
Almost a third of directors reported fewer people could access services, while almost half said providers face financial worries.
While 5% of directors felt the quality of life for service users had worsened, 86% had not noticed a change. When asked whether quality of life would diminish over the next two years, 55% said no and 19% said yes.
Half of ADASS members believe fewer people will have access to adult social care services in 24 months, while 57% expect providers to face more financial problems and 42% predict greater legal challenges.