New research from PwC warns the cost of caring for adults with learning disabilities will rise by almost £2bn by 2025. Higher service delivery costs coupled with a projected 38% rise in the number of adults with learning disabilities are creating a perfect storm for a financial crisis in local councils.
There’s no doubt that meeting ALD needs poses the biggest threat to council budgets this year. As a demand led financial pressure the additional costs of meeting this statutory provision isn’t something a council can control. With ALD provision accounting for 10.5% of all local government expenditure in England the government will have to come up with more funding or ask councils to cut essential services.
Council’s battle on a daily basis to provide statutory services with inadequate funding, aware their attempts are increasingly being challenged in the courts. ALD should fire a distress flare to the treasury for more funding in this year’s spending review but with no guarantee of extra funding what can councils do now to assure lead members that statutory services are being delivered effectively?
As a recent assignment we worked on shows its always worth asking an outside agency to challenge your thinking about resourcing options and models before recruiting more staff.
Instead of jumping ahead to secure an interim manager when a council asked us to appoint an interim manager to review ALD provision, we suggested they first use a portion of hiring spend to engage external support to benchmark what good provision looks like.
This gave our client access to a range of professionals able to collate data on the provision of ALD services at a national and international level. Armed with this evidence the client was able to quickly identify what needed to be done, and to satisfy lead members that ALD was the best they could make it, and deliver a financially sustainable service.
This year the issue of how to fund demand led services will dominate the spending review and town halls so it makes sense to ensure resourcing decisions are evidenced based.