Havering’s Budget: How will adult services cuts affect you?

'We might say: "well youve got a microwave, we can bring you meals and you can cook with this"'

'We might say: "well youve got a microwave, we can bring you meals and you can cook with this"' - Credit: Archant

Younger Adults – £4.45m cuts by 2019

Havering Council will cater for vulnerable adults’ critical and substantial needs but not “aspirations” in its effort to slash £8.8million from the adult social services bill with 18 to 65-year-olds bearing the brunt.

The so-called “younger adults” group is set to lose £4.45m in funding under council proposals to undertake a “complete review” of services, including residential and respite care.

Havering has said the changes will make its provision more personalised and focused on individual needs.

Those with “critical and substantial needs”, who face mortal risks without a certain level of care, will be protected from the cuts.

Adult services boss Joy Hollister explained: “If someone cannot cook themselves a hot meal, they’re going to starve so that’s going to be critical and substantial.

“If someone cannot go out and walk around on their own this is also going to be critical and substantial.”

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But some people may lose out, and it’s individuals with less serious needs whose care could be cut.

Mrs Hollister added: “Perhaps what we need is [a situation where] if you had a low level of disability and you come to us and say I can’t cook a three course meal for myself, we’d say ‘well you’ve got a microwave, we can bring you meals and you can cook with this’.”

The “basic needs of food and protection” will still be catered for, but the council can no longer afford to support people’s “aspirations”, said Cllr Wendy Brice-Thompson, cabinet member for adult services and health.

Royal Jubilee Court – £410,000 cut by 2016/17

The blocks of sheltered ­accommodation overlooking Raphael Park will also provide savings for the council but in a way it ­insists won’t be too drastic.

It is only Royal Jubilee Court’s reablement services, designed help people regain independence following illness or surgery, that face the axe.

The 28 “bed-sits”, as Cllr Brice-Thompson describes them, will be emptied and care once provided in the Gidea Park unit will now be delivered at home. “There’s no point teaching someone to walk in one place and then having to move them,” said Mrs Hollister.

“It’s much better to get people to relearn these skills in their own home.

“The reablement facility may not have stairs, when their home does, for example.” With most residents only spending between four and six weeks in the unit’s care, the council doesn’t ­envisage anyone having to be turfed out when the service ends.

Over 65s – £3.5m cut by 2016/17

Havering’s large elderly population means adult ­social care spending on pensioners is high, so significant cuts are having to made here too.

One plan is to look at “double-handed care” to work out whether support currently provided by two people could be as adequately provided by one.

But all services are going to be under the savings ­microscope.

Cllr Brice-Thompson said: “My message would be we’re always looking to provide the best care possible for all our vulnerable residents, but we’re going to have to do it within our budget. We just do not have the money any more.”

Implications of the Care Act

This new legislation, the most significant change to adult social care in more than 60 years, caps the amount an individual can spend on their care at £72,000.

It’s a reform popular with care users, but councils ­including Havering are worried about its financial implications.

The council expects more people will require assessments because of the changes, and says it will improve efficiency to deal with it.

One way is to cut bureaucracy.

Mrs Hollister said: “To get a direct payment for a basic level of support that support worker has to fill in the name and address 25 times on a sheet of paper.

“By making our changes, they can now do it on one.”

Through this and reducing a reliance on agency care staff, the council plans to save £400,000.

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