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New budget proposals have put the transformation of adult social care at the top of the agenda.

The plans outline how the Council will invest in the long term sustainability of adult social care, making sure the people of Cambridgeshire get the best possible value from every pound spent.

An example of how the Council is innovating within adult social care is showcased in this video showing the Council’s Reablement Service. Residents, staff and a Councillor talk about how the lives of vulnerable adults, who have received care, can be positively changed by helping them regain their independence and quality of life and reduce their need for expensive adult social care.

The forthcoming budget plans fully recognise that, both nationally and locally, adult social care is under great pressure from an ageing population and increased complexity of need. In addition, Cambridgeshire is expecting a greater than average increase in the number of older residents living in the county, potentially placing further strain on adult social care budgets and services.  

As well as identifying ways to transform services, Councillors are also fighting for a fairer deal from Government across a range of services, including adult social care and school funding.  Shire Counties receive less funding than other types of Local Authorities across a range of services. The campaign, working with other Shire Councils across the country comes at a time when the Government is consulting on a national funding formula.

Delivery of £31m of savings in this financial year is currently on track, but the Council goes in to its budget planning round this autumn with a £37.5 million gap between the money it receives from the government, from council tax, business rates and the income it makes – and the amount it needs to spend on services. Councillors will be discussing a set of proposals at their service committees to help bridge this funding gap, which include:

  • Investment in Cambridgeshire County Council services to transform them, delivering better outcomes and reduced demand
  • Investment in commercial opportunities which bring in a good financial return to the council
  • Transforming the way the Council works – making improvements to how we manage our business, our people and our money
  • Better management of the contracts we have with suppliers

In adult social care, savings will be delivered by using innovations that can have a positive impact, helping people to live more independently, such as better use of technology, adaptations and equipment in the home and by providing early help. These include:

  • The Neighbourhood Cares Scheme - a pilot project where better, more flexible, more responsive support is delivered locally by small teams from within the community and where teams are empowered to use their professional judgement to get things done for people
  • Adult Early Help Service, where people can access support and advice at an early stage and can also get easier access to community equipment and assistive technology so they can live independently at home and keep in contact with family and carers. The Council is working closely with the NHS Neighbourhood Teams to enable us to know when someone may need additional support and work in a joined up way
  • Improving staff recruitment and retention for key areas of the care system, such as care homes, home care and broadening the number of commissioned services
  • Using the Better Care Fund to improve how people move through the system by working more closely with partners. This involves funding of over £8 million
  • Working with partners on the implementation of the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) to develop community based solutions to avoid hospital admission and enable people to leave hospital in a  timely way
  • A falls prevention plan to reduce the number of people needing hospital stays and care due to slips, trips and falls
  • Better winter planning, including a significant investment in reablement staff numbers, more social workers and more interim beds for people leaving hospital
  • Reviewing the Council’s Contributions Policy making sure the way in which people contribute to their care is in line with policies in other Local Authorities

The Budget Proposals will be going to the Adults Committee on 12 October and are available here.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Anna Bailey, Chairwomen of the Adults Committee, said: “There is real innovation in these plans that identify how we can help improve people’s quality of life for longer into old age, as well as serious investment into planning and piloting schemes for the future sustainability of high quality support in the longer term. I also want to reassure people that where they do need more intensive or long term support we will be there for them. I look forward to the debate at the Adults Committee to help shape these proposals further.”

All budget ideas to be discussed at committees over the coming month are still proposals. In parallel with discussions by Members, Cambridgeshire County Council will also be launching public consultation which will have two stages. Firstly small targeted focus groups will help shape budget proposals as they develop and subsequently a household survey, online survey and talking to members of the public at community events will provide further feedback on ideas and suggestions.

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