Commitment to protect the most vulnerable in face of significant funding shortfall
Published: Tuesday, 22 August 2023
Members of South Lanarkshire IJB have reiterated their concrete commitment to prioritising support for the most vulnerable
The assurance comes following a special meeting of the Board (on Monday 21 August), at which members recognised the profound local implications of well-publicised, national financial pressures.
At yesterday’s meeting members approved proposals to meet the estimated costs of back-pay associated with South Lanarkshire Council’s Care at Home job evaluation outcome. The proposals had been previously approved by the Council Executive Committee on 16 August 2023. The one-off £18m contribution meets the costs of back-pay for Council home carers to 31st March 2023.
Lesley McDonald, Chair of South Lanarkshire IJB explained that the IJB is faced with a new gap of £7m in funding for social care for 2023/24. A full budget recovery plan will be formally considered by the IJB next month. Including this new £7m budget pressure, the IJB is now presented with an increased recurrent funding shortfall of almost £38m for health and social care that it will need to solve for 2024/25 and onwards.
Ms McDonald added: “It is important we fully acknowledge and diligently take stock of the reality we find ourselves in.
“The size of the funding gap is such that the action required to address it will have unavoidable implications for how services are provided. There will inevitably be difficult choices just ahead.
“We remain, however, absolutely focused in developing realistic, sustainable proposals to negotiate the harsh financial landscape and ultimately keep people safe.”
Professor Soumen Sengupta, Chief Officer of South Lanarkshire IJB, added: “These are and will continue to be challenging times for health and social care locally, just as is the case right across Scotland.
“We remain committed to prioritising our resources towards and doing our best to protect the most vulnerable and at-risk in our communities alongside enabling independent living wherever appropriate.”
At yesterday’s special IJB meeting, members approved funding proposals to meet the estimated costs of back-pay associated with the care at home job evaluation outcome, totalling £18 million for the period up to 31 March 2023. The IJB’s ratification came after the proposals were approved by the South Lanarkshire Council (SLC) Executive Committee on 16 August 2023.
Overall, the current financial pressure have resulted from a combination of several factors:
- This includes well-publicised, national financial pressures, in many cases fuelled by major inflation increases across all areas of spend, and an unanticipated, additional pressure of £7million (recurrent from 1st April 2023) which now requires to be met;
- This additional £7m pressure follows an agreement being reached between the South Lanarkshire Council and Trade Unions following a review of the Care at Home workers job evaluation;
- In September 2023 the IJB will be presented with reports on the proposed budget recovery actions to address the additional in-year pressure of £7 million for 2023/24 related to the job evaluation outcome; and options to address the total recurrent gap projected for 2024/25;
- Overall, the IJB will need to take decisions to address a funding deficit of £37.8m – comprising £26.2m in social work costs and £11.6m in NHS costs – (which includes recurring legacy deficit from this year, the projected deficit for 24/25 and the recurrent £7m due to care at home job evaluation referenced above).
The current state-of-play amplifies the findings of Audit Scotland’s recently-published Integration Joint Boards Financial Analysis 2021/22, a report which leaves no illusion about the severity of the wider challenges. The national auditor states that IJBs have reached the point where significant transformation will be needed to ensure the long-term capacity financial sustainability and quality of services individuals receive.
Through the extensive consultation process undertaken to shape our IJB Strategic Commissioning Plan communities and stakeholders told us that we should prioritise:
o Delivering upon our statutory responsibilities on their behalf.
o Protecting the most vulnerable and at-risk in our communities.
o Enabling and maintaining independent living in people’s own homes wherever appropriate.
IJB papers can be read at the following link: https://www.southlanarkshire.gov.uk/slhscp/downloads/download/85/ijb_meetings_dates_and_agendas_2023