Hampshire County Council’s Cabinet acknowledged today that there can be no let up in the drive to reduce spending, in response to reductions in Government funding.
The Council is more than half-way towards meeting its £102million savings target by spring 2015, which will mean over £230million has been saved through efficiencies and change, since 2008. The County Council has done its best to protect spending on children in care and adult care.
However, further reductions in grant support, plus inflation and growing demand for care for the elderly and for vulnerable children and adults, are anticipated for the rest of the decade. In response, Cabinet is now turning its attention to what is needed to meet the challenges beyond 2015, in a way that will continue to deliver improved outcomes for residents and keep Council Tax low so as not to add to the tax burden on Hampshire residents.
Central to the County Council’s work in future, will be to ensure the successful integration of Health services across Hampshire. Last week, the Council hosted a major health conference bringing together leaders from across Hampshire’s health, social care and voluntary sectors – as well as service user groups. Partners recognised the need to ensure a more joined-up and coordinated approach to delivering care in Hampshire.
The County Council is already working closely with partners in Health on how best to integrate and coordinate services using the Better Care funding provided by Government. The £80 million to be allocated from the fund to Hampshire, for 2015-16, is specifically designed to provide people with the right care, in the right place, at the right time – supporting people to live well in their communities and prevent them needing costly health or social care services, later in life.
Councillor Roy Perry, Leader of the County Council, said: “We know from the Bank of England and the Chancellor that these cuts and economic pressures will continue to be with us for the foreseeable future.
“Notwithstanding the considerable financial task the County Council faces, good progress is being made around change and efficiencies programmes – matched with no discernible reduction in the Council’s performance, which remains strong. All of this illustrates the very important contribution of staff and partners.
“Nevertheless, with more people needing support in their old age and growing numbers of vulnerable children and adults needing expensive care, this is no time to be taking our foot off the pedal. Our toughest test is the challenge of being able to afford to provide the best quality services to those who need them most, at a time of significant financial constraint – while keeping Council Tax low. We will take advantage of the opportunities that a period of change can bring to create new ways of providing quality services for the residents of Hampshire.”
The webcast of the Cabinet meeting held today, 23 June 2014, is available to view.