LGA launches fund to drive £50m care efficiency programme

Councils invited to bid for share of fund to help deliver adult social care services with lower budgets

A programme aimed at cutting £50m from the cost of adult social services through improved productivity and efficiency has been launched by the Local Government Association and the Department of Health.

Over two years, the adult social care efficiency programme will provide £1m in funding to councils seeking to make efficiencies in services for the vulnerable and elderly. Councils will be able to use the funds to push through schemes that can deliver better value for money and budget savings.

Although the programme is primarily funded by the LGA to the tune of £700,000, a further £300,000 has been provided by the Department of Health. Grants will fall under four main themes: Tackling the high cost of learning disability placements; integrating with healthcare services, a growing consideration under healthcare reforms; preventative services; and commissioning.

The programme will also provide a resource for other authorities, through case studies and best practice techniques that can be used more widely across local government.

The LGA said that more than 40 applications for grants had already been received, with more than 50 councils from across the country due to take part. It said the average grant per application would be £20,000, while joint bids for regional schemes would receive up to £60,000.

David Rogers, chair of the LGA’s community wellbeing board, said councils were facing the pressure of insufficient funding, growing demand and escalating costs.

“Adult social care is the biggest chunk of discretionary spending for the 152 social care authorities, so it is a very significant figure,” Rogers said.

Rogers said that the success of individual schemes would be based on “key indicators” in one of the four areas a council wanted to implement change, and outlined in the application for funding. These could include the number of people being admitted into residential care or those with ongoing care requirements after interventions or treatment.

Peter Fleming, chair of the LGA’s improvement board, said: “Adult social care is one of the most important services councils manage, accounting for a huge amount of money and affecting some of our most vulnerable citizens.”

He added: “Councils have led the rest of the public sector in becoming more efficient, but current challenges mean that they still need to deliver more for every pound they spend.”