The financial challenge and the need for change

The money the Council receives from the Government has been reducing for some time and will do so again in 2018/19.  Since 2010, we have delivered savings totalling £376 million.  By 2021, our total savings will have risen to £0.5 billion. On top of this, we are facing higher than ever demand for our services. We have made a number of difficult choices over the last few years to make the savings we needed, and we need to do this again to make sure that we have enough money in our budget to run services that meet statutory requirements (what we must do) and help those who need it the most.

Our population is growing and its needs are changing.  New responsibilities for the Council have placed huge pressures on our public services in the county.  As a result of this, and changes at a national level (including Brexit and a new minority Conservative government) we must look again at our financial plans.  We are making our case to the Government for Fairer Funding to address this, but we need to act now to make sure we have enough money in our budget for 2018/19 to meet all the pressures we face.

·         By 2024, it is projected that the population of Northamptonshire will have grown by approximately 9% to 778,600 people; faster than the projected 7.5% increase for England. By this date it is projected that the number of people aged 65+ will be 28.2% higher than in 2014, compared to a 20.4% increase nationally (England average).

·         We have seen a huge rise in the number of Children in Care (almost 23% in the past 3 years) with figures at over 1,000 since the summer. The cost of placements for Children in Care has increased by 47.4% in the same period.

·         Numbers of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children (UASC) have also increased, which adds to the financial pressures within the service, as Government funding only covers around two-thirds of the actual costs.

·         Although demand in adult social care has stayed roughly the same, individual costs are increasing because people’s needs require more complex care - the average cost for clients aged 18-64 has increased by 3.7% per week (an average increase from £668 to £693) and the average cost for clients aged 65+ has increased by 27.7% per week (an average increase from £317 to £405).

·         The customer service centre handles (on average) 18,000 phone calls and 7,000 emails/eforms each month. It is estimated that 40% of the county population has contacted the customer service centre, or been the subject of a contact in the last five years. The website attracts an average of 350,000 visits each month, consisting of around 200,000 unique users.

 

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