Resolved: the committee agreed to note budget cuts proposals COM 3 to COM 7 and refer its views on COM 1 and COM 2 to the Public Accounts Committee in the following terms:
The committee notes the greater demand on voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisations which would result from the proposals in COM 1 and COM 2 and expresses concern about the impact of funding reductions for VCS partners (as set out in COM 12) at a time when they are being expected to do more. Given this, the committee requests that Mayor and Cabinet does not decide to make these budget cuts until it has carried out and considered an assessment of the extent to which VCS organisations will be able to meet the increased demand as a result of the proposals in COM 1 and 2.
David Austin (Head of Corporate Resources) introduced the report. The following key points were noted:
5.1 The council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy identified the need for continued cuts to be made to the council’s budget over the coming four years.
5.2 This report sets out £21m of cuts proposals against the target of £30m cuts in the two years to 2020/21 - £17m in 2019/20 and £13m in 2020/21.
5.3 The proposals are aligned to the 10 corporate objectives and Lewisham 2020 strategy.
5.4 Officers will be developing and returning with further cuts proposals for the second year (2020/21).
Aileen Buckton (Executive Director for Community Services) introduced budget cut proposal COM1: Managing demand at the point of access to adult social care services. The following key points were noted:
5.5 In order to manage increasing demands on adult social care services, officers are working towards a preventative approach focussed on identifying people who may need support in the future earlier, and working with individuals and organisations in the community to provide support which could delay the need for a formal package of adult social care services.
5.6 Social workers will look at an individual’s strengths, what they can do for themselves, and what other organisations and people, including relatives, in their community may be able to do, in order to make the best use of the available support and make the best use of the social care resources there are.
5.7 COM 1 is part of the Council’s work to manage increasing demands on adult social care.
5.8 National guidelines suggest that local authorities should not spend more than 15% of their adult social care budget on care packages of 10 hours or less, as this level of care can often be accessed by other means and by ensuring that correct levels of benefits are in place.
5.9 Lewisham currently spends 15.5% of its adult social care budget on packages of 10 hours or less. To reduce this the council will look at what else it might be able to do for this group of residents and whether there is other support in the community which can be utilised.
5.10 Officers do not expect a large increase in complaints as social workers will be working closely with individuals and their families to reach agreement.
5.11 The eligibility criteria for adult social care services are national criteria set out in the Care Act and are not expected to change.
5.12 In complex cases benefits advice will be available from advice services in the voluntary sector.
5.13 The people who would be affected by this proposal are by and large younger and likely to be able to gain a level of independence.
5.14 If someone has very complex needs they will be provided with the appropriate support.
5.15 A panel of senior managers will have oversight of all care package reviews and care packages will be reviewed carefully in line with what is feasible.
5.16 It is also important to ... view the full minutes text for item 4