Social workers play a vital role in achieving better outcomes for individuals and on World Social Work Day we have an extra reason to celebrate social work. I have been working with social workers in one local authority and have taken away some key lessons about relationships in social work.
I am slightly embarrassed to admit how much I look forward to the publication of the ADASS annual budget survey – and I wasn’t disappointed when the 2018 survey was released this week. As someone with a mission to help transform care and health, it honestly made for a thrilling read, making me laugh, cry, gasp in horror and beam with hope – although not simultaneously. (I’m no Jim Carrey).
A summary can’t really do it justice, but I’ve compiled my list of Top Ten highlights and will run through them in old-school Top of the Pops countdown style:
10: The survey had a 100% return rate (152 Directors) – showing that those in the sector fully understand the importance of getting a thorough understanding of the state of play.
9: Only 41% of councils expect to be raising the social care precept next year. Given that all but six councils raised it this year and all but five raised it last year, this will be a significant change in the potential for increased social care budget. (It’s worth noting that the plan which encouraged fewer social care precept increases in 2020 was devised when a General Election was scheduled for 2020. But now that isn’t the case…)
8: Almost three times as many Directors are more worried about working age than older people’s budget pressures. This is a growing trend we are seeing around the country, following years of an NHS-influenced focus on older people.
7: Only 28% are fully confident that their share of the £700 million planned savings for 2018-19 will be met.
6: 69% say prevention and early intervention is very important to delivering savings. However, the net increase of spend on prevention is . . .minus £14 million!
5: Costs are increasing – £16 million is the average cost of a new care home, which is up 3.5%. A large number of councils are reporting fee increases of over 5% for different types of care.
4: Only one Director expects a financial benefit from their local Sustainable Transformation Plan. If you are reading this, please tell us the secret!
3: 27% think that the local care experience of citizens improved over the last year – a real sign of hope.
2: There is a 50% decrease in the proportion of savings that will come from efficiencies this year.
1: This is a new entry category which has gone straight in at number 1 – because it tops my list in terms of describing where Directors are focusing their attention for savings this year. 82% say that ‘developing asset-based approaches and self-help approaches so as to reduce the numbers of people receiving long-term care’ is very important in delivering their savings.
I am proud that my colleagues and I have been at the forefront of promoting and delivering what we define as demand-led change over the last four years. Our efforts are paying off – this year’s survey is the first that has acknowledged demand-led change as a type of saving, and in fact identifies it as the single biggest focus for savings amongst Directors. This marks an official coming of age for managing demand, which is now clearly seen as being of primary importance. We are excited to now be at the forefront of delivering it!