£10 Million Boost For County Social Care

Derbyshire County Council is set to get a boost of £10 million for its cash-strapped children’s and adult’s social care departments.

This comes as part of the spending review being carried out by central government.

It has been seen as the potential pot of solutions for many of the woes being faced in local government.

It also comes as the county council reveals that it is due to have another year with multi-million overspend in its children’s services department of up to £6 million.

This is more than half of the funding which the Peter Handford, the council’s finance director, says the authority could receive for children’s and adult’s social care.

In total, chancellor Sajid Javid has said this month that £1.5 billion will be given to council’s to support the struggling sectors – with demand for assistance surging and finances falling.

However, it is thought that £500 million of the funding will be conditional on authorities raising their council tax for adult social care.

In Derbyshire, the county council has pledged to freeze council tax for the next two years, but it may have to forego this in order to get access to further much-needed funding.

In April, council leader, Cllr Barry Lewis, said that uncertainty over Brexit and local government funding could cause the county to drop its council tax freeze pledges.

He said the council was “proceeding with caution”.

Yesterday (Wednesday, September 11), Peter Handford, the authority’s finance director, said that the spending review was “good news for this council”.

He estimates that the authority will gain “at least” £10 million for children’s and adult’s social care and that the council will find out for certain “in the next few months”.

Mr Handford also alluded to a current plan which will see the authority needing to spend £10 million of its own reserves on children with special educational needs over the next five years.

He said that the authority may not have to spend as much of its reserves as previously anticipated – in the region of £39 million.

This would have dropped the council’s rainy day fund for emergencies down from £64.5 million to £18.3 million by 2023.

He says this will now be in the mid-£20 millions.

Mr Handford had said that a drop in the authority’s reserves decreases “its ability to meet short term, unforeseeable expenditure, such as occurred recently at Toddbrook Reservoir”.

Cllr Paul Smith, a member of Labour’s shadow cabinet, said: “I will welcome any extra funding being given to us.
“We are here to provide services and support people in our community – but this will not cover the gap in funding and the number of cuts which have been made over the past few years.
“For all the cuts that have been made in the past 10 years, it is not enough to meet the demand and the changing needs of young people and adults and the gap is growing.”

Eddie Bisknell (LDRS)

Eddie writes for Nailed through the Local Democracy Reporting Service, in partnership with the BBC. The Local Democracy Reporting Service is a partnership of media outlets sharing reporters to cover council meetings.

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