Nottinghamshire Council being ‘utterly transparent’ about expected financial shortfall funding social care reforms

Nottinghamshire Council’s social care cabinet member has said it is important for the authority to be ‘utterly transparent’ about the challenges it faces in implementing upcoming social care reforms.

By Andrew Topping
Friday, 15th July 2022, 9:21 am
Updated Friday, 15th July 2022, 9:28 am

New reports show the council could be hit with a bill of as much as £90 million in bringing forward the Government-led reforms, with almost £42m coming in the Fair Cost of Care changes.

This reform will see a significant rise in the amount councils pay care agencies and home care providers per hour, with documents confirming the hourly fee could rise from slightly above £19 to £23.50.

The reforms, due to begin implementation in 2023, will also see a means-tested cap of £86,000 for personal spending on care throughout someone’s lifetime.

County Hall, Nottinghamshire Council's headquarters in West Bridgford.

Senior officials within the council have raised concerns over the funding provision from Whitehall, with the Government yet to provide proportional allocations to local authorities for each of its reforms.

Melanie Brooks, council corporate director for social care, has written to the Government to state current funding projections will not be ‘sufficient to meet the stated objectives’.

And now Coun Matt Barney, portfolio holder for adult social care, has said the potential financial risk from the reforms is ‘quite scary’.

Speaking in the latest council cabinet meeting, he praised the benefit the reforms will have in addressing long-standing issues in the sector, but said it is important for the authority to be open about the risks.

He said: “When you get into the detail, it’s quite scary and we need to highlight this risk. Hopefully, this risk won’t come to pass, but it is there and we need to be aware. know there’s a sense of anxiety in this authority about how we meet these risks.

“There is an allocation of funding, but the problem is this funding has not been set out proportionately.

“The numbers are huge and, for this authority, if we’re not able to meet this risk, we could be talking about perhaps a £90m shortfall in our annual funding, which is huge.”

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The Government has allocated funding pots for the reforms, but local authorities are yet to be told exactly how much they will receive.

The Fair Cost of Care reform, for example, has been allocated £600m per year in 2023 and 2024, and the council says it expects to receive 1.47 per cent of this per year based on previous financial years.

This would equate to £8.82m per year to fund a £41.57m reform, leaving a funding black hole of £32.75m.

Other projections for the region include between £614m and £743m over a decade for the £86,000 care cap and the creation of 221 care workers and 45 financial assessor roles to bring forward the reforms.

A Department for Health and Social Care spokesman said: “Reforming adult social care is a priority and we are investing £5.4 billion over the next three years to end spiralling care costs and support the workforce.

“This includes £3.6bn to reform the social care charging system and enable all local authorities to move towards paying providers a fair cost of care, and £1.7bn to begin major improvements across adult social care in England, funded by the Health and Social Care Levy.”