It is without a doubt that local authorities have been put under enormous pressure by continued government cuts to adult social care.
Demand for support continues to increase in both the volume and complexity of people’s need against a background of significant reductions in local government funding, increased responsibilities in the Care Act, NHS efficiencies and a fragile care market.
The position in Brighton and Hove has been one where every effort has been made to protect our statutory areas.
As a Labour and Co-operative group, we are committed to ensuring that vulnerable people in our community get the support that they need and deserve.
That is why we allocated over 40 per cent of our council’s overall revenue expenditure budget to adult social care alone for 2018-19.
In difficult circumstances, the adult social care budget has seen growth in the net budget position over the last three years from £78.2 million in 2016-17 to £81.6 million in 2017-18 and £84.8 million net for 2018-19.
We are working more closely than ever with the clinical commissioning group, public health, local hospitals and other health, care and support organisations to ensure that we make the best use of finite resources across the health and social care system, providing essential services as well as those that enhance wellbeing and quality of life.
This in itself does not save money but, importantly, it does enable people to receive advice and support to remain healthy and independent for as long as possible.
It also gives access to the best support and treatment within their community and, when they do need hospital or respite care, enables them to return home or to a place of their choice without unnecessary delay.
We do not underestimate the scale of the task ahead and need more than ever for the government to secure a long-term funding solution for social care which has been described by the Care Quality Commission as “one of the greatest unresolved public policy issues of our time”.
Karen Barford is a Labour councillor and the lead member for adult social care on Brighton and Hove City Council.