A budget to help the most vulnerable in our community

Over £10 million extra is being invested in adult and children’s social care as the budget for 2023/24 makes sure it supports the most vulnerable in our City (cabinet 12 January 2023).

Hands of an elderly person crossed over knee

Over £10 million extra is being invested in adult and children’s social care as the budget for 2023/24 makes sure it supports the most vulnerable in our City (cabinet 12 January 2023).

The council is committed to increasing investment into social care, both adults and children’s services are experiencing significantincreases in local demandandthe associated rising costs of keeping vulnerable people safe and supported.

Of the overall 4.99% council tax increase, 2% will go directly to supporting adult social care services. The draft budget outlines an additional £7m to adult social services, with £5m of that directly supporting local care providers to pay the new national living wage. The report also recommends implementing the proposed new adult social care charging policy from 1 April 2023 following public consultation in summer 2022.

There is also a further £2.5m direct investment for children’s social care to help to respond to the increasing cost of independent placements pressures, extra money has also been prioritised to deliver an enhanced support and improved remuneration packagefor our in-house foster carers who work with Southend-on-Sea City Council (see previous press release).

Cllr Stephen George, leader of the council, said: “We put our residents at the very heart of everything we do and to take that one step further, at the very centre of the very heart are our vulnerable residents.

“Our elderly residents, our young residents, those with additional needs, they are the people who most need the help and support of our council services and for that reason, the bulk of our budget is spent on the services they benefit from.

“The work that takes place is often unseen because until you or someone you love needs social care, you won’t have any reason to know of the many teams and staff who work hard to deliver the support that is needed.”

Adult social care covers everything from adaptations made to homes where someone needs extra support, for example handrails in shower to prevent slipping, through to care delivered at home for adults who are older, or with disabilities but living independently. We also provide vital support for residents with physical, mental health or learning disability needs.

Cllr Kay Mitchell, cabinet member for adult social care and health integration, said: “The support provided by the council is for anyone over the age of 18 and there has been a noticeable increase in demand in recent years, alongside an aging population. I am pleased the draft budget includes further investment as it is vitally important, we care for those who are most vulnerableand continue with our dedicated social care teams delivering and developing the best support.”

Children’s social care services includes family support, as well as our fostering, adoption, and emergency social care teams.

Cllr Laurie Burton, cabinet member for children and learning, said: “I’m incredibly grateful the budget includes additional benefits for our foster carers. Having met some of the selfless families at various events, I am amazed with their stories of care and dedication, working with some of our most vulnerable children and young people providing that essential stable, safe, supportive environment, whether it be on a long term or short-term basis.

“The work of children’s social care teams often goes unseen. This draft budget continues to support and invest in the services that our vulnerable people need the most.”

The draft budget will be considered by the council’s cabinet on Thursday 12 January, the council’s policy and resource scrutiny committee on Thursday 2 February, with the final budget to be discussed and approved at full council on Thursday 23 February.

Published: 6th January 2023

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