17 Jan 2011

43% cuts to Supporting People programme in Glos

Locally there are great campaigns to save the Forest of Dean from a sell-off and to try and reduce the destruction of our library services. This blog has covered lots on both those - but the voice of some of the more vulnerable members of our communities seems to have been missed. I have written recently on the savage cuts to DLA and indeed other benefits - see here - but there seems little in the press about the cuts to local social services.

Photo: a cold future for many receiving care

For example the Gloucestershire Supporting People Strategy now faces a period of significant budget cuts. A new strategy is being developed but it will impact very hard on many. Martin Cooper, Head of Gloucestershire Supporting People, updated Stroud District Council recently. He explained that the recent Government settlement had only allocated £12.5million for Supporting People in Gloucestershire over the next four years, equating to a 43% reduction in the current spend.

The next financial year will see a loss of £2.9million. A detailed action plan is being formulated by the end of January 2011 for agreement by the Supporting People Partnership Board and then to a meeting of Gloucestershire County Council’s Cabinet in April for a final decision. It is anticipated that "a period of radical change would occur in October 2011 with a view to obtaining better value for money and reshaping services to obtain better outcomes for as many people as possible."

Of course Supporting People is only one part of care provision in Gloucestershire - there are many other areas - we are only just beginning to see how some of the cuts may fall. There is still very much to understand - and also see how nationally cuts will impact locally - and of course the NHS cuts.....but take for example inspections....

Attack on inspections

Here is a quote from Johann Hari in The Independent: "It is about to get worse. The people who are supposed to inspect care homes – the Care Quality Commission, or CQC – are being massively cut back under David Cameron. Five years ago, there were 50,000 visits in a single year. This year, there will be a quarter of that. The Government is shifting to a model of "light touch regulation", where homes will largely assess themselves by filling in "paper reviews" – essentially a series of forms. We saw in the banking sector that people behave much worse when they know nobody is checking on them...."

As readers will know I have been a social worker and currently work for a charity locally - I am very concerned that there will be less inspections - what we need is better inspections. I hear far too often about terrible care providers.....

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