Local authorities expect to cut around £300m from adult social services this year, despite receiving more than £1.5bn from the NHS and Department of Health.
The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services said that despite the allocation of £648m to adult social care through the NHS and the addition of £1bn from the Department of Health, reduced grants and additional spending pressures meant savings of £1bn were still necessary.
It said around 70 per cent of those savings could be delivered through efficiencies and service redesigns, and indicated the bulk of the remaining £300m was likely to come in the form of service cuts.
It released findings this week from its 2011-12 budget survey, previously under wraps, following a partial leak to the BBC.
The survey found that only 26 out of 148 councils responding to it funded people with “moderate” or “low” needs under the fair access to care services criteria, down from 41 the previous year.
Six authorities now limit care to residents with needs described as “critical” – the highest category of need – meaning that 116 authorities provide free care to residents with needs described as “substantial” or more intensive.
A statement from ADASS said councils had sought to protect adult social care and pointed out that average budget reductions were lower than for council services as a whole.
It concluded: “With the budget for adult social care accounting for anything up to 50 per cent of a council’s budget, complete protection of these services is not possible.”
In addition to grant cuts from the government’s spending review last year, ADASS attributed increasing pressure on adult social services departments to the ageing population, saying additional demographic pressures from elderly people and people with learning difficulties had added around £425m to departmental budgets in the current year.