Hampshire has more and more people wanting to use social care services, with increasing expectations, but with less money to meet those expectations. This is just one of the challenges facing the County Council as it prepares for further funding cuts in Government grant.
The County Council has already budgeted to remove over £250million from its spending by 2015 and now faces the prospect of having to find a further £98million savings by 2018.
While Hampshire remains in a very strong financial position, a report to the Council’s Cabinet on 21 July outlines the growing pressures – particularly around adults’ and children’s social care.
The Council’s actions to-date, as part of its successful change and transformation programmes, will partly close this gap. These include a new digital strategy to transform and modernise the way services are delivered, a business development strategy for sharing and trading services to generate income, and making more innovative use of the Council’s assets.
These activities will be supported by the Capital Programme, which at £765million over three years, is the largest ever injection of public sector capital into Hampshire – creating jobs, demand for materials and new and improved school buildings, care facilities such as Extra Care units, roads and transport infrastructure. Hampshire’s cabinet members intend to keep this programme under review to make sure it maximises the opportunities to lever further Government and private sector funding where possible.
Meanwhile, services will need to develop further revenue savings proposals over the next six months, in time for next year’s budget decisions.
County Council Leader, Councillor Roy Perry said: “Our budget strategy has successfully achieved more than £200million of savings to-date, while continuing to deliver quality services at the lowest cost to the taxpayer – so it has served Hampshire well through this period of national austerity. I well understand the Government’s need to bring public expenditure back under control but with further grant reductions to come and no let up in demand for care services – that are becoming more expensive to provide – decisions around future spend are becoming increasingly difficult.
We will continue to make further efficiencies and maximise return on every pound spent – while at the same time, finding further opportunities to create new and sustainable ways of providing quality public services to the residents of Hampshire. Having been at the LGA Conference in Bournemouth this week I have heard from other Council Leaders who face similar problems and recognise that Hampshire is one of the most successful councils in addressing the financial situation.”