Derbyshire County Council announces adult social care budget proposals

County Hall, Matlock.
County Hall, Matlock.

Derbyshire County Council has revealed four proposals which would change or reduce its adult care services as part of its overall plan to meet £157 million of budget cuts by 2018.

The council must make the savings due to reductions in Government grants, inflation and greater demands on areas of the budget for adult social care and vulnerable children.

Adult social care has the largest share of the overall county council budget and currently £206 million is spent on services for older and vulnerable people including adults with disabilities.

To meet the target required by the Government the council must save up to £57 million from the money it spends on adult care services over the next four years.

Four proposals which would help the council to meet this savings target have been revealed today (14 January) and will be discussed by the council’s Cabinet on 21st January.

If agreed by cabinet, public consultations will be launched in to the four major money-saving proposals and residents across Derbyshire will get the chance to give their views before decisions are made later this year.

The four major money-saving proposals to be discussed by cabinet next week are:

* Proposals to change who qualifies for council care and support at home by raising the eligibility threshold from `higher moderate’ to `substantial’ level – this would mean that only people who have been assessed as having substantial needs or above would be eligible to receive on-going support from the county council in the future.

* Proposals to increase the financial contribution people make towards their care support.

* Proposals to reduce the housing-related support budget by £9 million – this would affect a wide range of groups including older people, people with mental health problems, people with learning disabilities, homeless people and people at risk of domestic abuse.

* Proposals to introduce a transport policy covering the council’s adult care services which would mean changes to the way transport is provided or arranged by the council to travel to day care services and other activities, and the introduction of a flat rate charge.

It was also revealed today that the council’s Cabinet will next week discuss two proposals which would help to mitigate some of the effects of the cuts and service changes for some groups of people.

The first proposal is to use just over £675,000 in 2014/15 from a newly created Public Health Resource Fund to continue to fund certain voluntary sector services, including services for people at risk of domestic violence, substance misuse services and befriending services, while alternative funding is sought. These services could have been facing proposed cuts in the next financial year without this additional funding.

A second proposal, if agreed, would allow people to buy home and day care services in addition to what they already receive following an assessment. If agreed by Cabinet, the pilot scheme would also allow people who no longer qualify for care following an assessment to buy care from the council privately.

Derbyshire County Council Cabinet member for adult social care Coun Clare Neill has already met with a number of community and voluntary groups as well as organisations providing services on behalf of the county council to talk to them about the council’s budget pressures.

Coun Neill said: “The county council is facing massive budget pressures and this will have a huge impact on adult care services in the future.

“Adult care has already undergone several changes including a management restructure, but these changes alone will not meet these unprecedented budget cuts.

“I have some very difficult decisions to make over the next few months.

“Some services will remain, but some will be reduced, run differently or, in some cases, cut altogether.”

Coun Neill added: “If cabinet agrees with the four proposals put forward for our adult care services, then we will be asking people for their views.

“No decisions will be made until we have carried out consultations and carefully considered the outcomes. Everyone who wants to have a say will get the chance to do this.”

She said: “I have been working with the organisations affected and other public sector bodies to try to mitigate some of the cuts in some areas.

“I would like to pay tribute to the people from those organisations who have been very willing to talk about different ways of working in order to protect the most vulnerable.

“The new pilot scheme to allow people to buy our home and day care services privately, if agreed, will help some people who may not qualify for our care following an assessment in the future.

“We are also proposing that money from our newly set up Public Health Resource Fund will be used in the coming year to fund services that were previously being considered as areas where cuts could be made. This will protect some services for at least another year.”

If cabinet agrees to the consultations on the four money-saving proposals they will be officially launched on 28 January 2014 and will run for 12 weeks.

People receiving adult care services will be sent a letter and information leaflets explaining the proposals in more detail. The leaflets will also outline the different ways that people can give their views during the consultation period.

County council staff will be available to attend meetings of relevant groups and community organisations where people will be able to find out more and ask questions.

More information on each of the proposals and details of how people can give their views will be available at the start of the consultations from 28 January at

A dedicated helpline will also be set up when the consultation period starts for people who are concerned about the proposals, need more information or help with understanding or responding to the consultations.