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Social care spending up £556m as costs also rise

Annual spending2 by local authorities on social care rose by £556 million in 2016/17 to £17.5 billion, new figures show.

That constitutes a 3.3 per cent increase in cash terms and a 1.0 per cent increase in real terms. It is the first time social care expenditure has risen in real terms since 2009/10.

In 2016/17 Local Authorities were able to raise the council tax precept by two percent for the first time in order to fund adult social care. This raised an additional £382 million.3

The Adult Social Care Activity and Finance Report published by NHS Digital yesterday  shows that, while expenditure has risen, there has been minimal change in activity, which may be linked to the increasing costs in the provision of care.

1.8 million requests for support4 from new clients were received by councils in 2016/17, an increase of 0.2 per cent on the previous year.

9 in 1,000 people aged 18 to 64, and 58 in 1,000 people aged 65 and above, received long term support provided or arranged by their council in 2016/17.

The number of service users receiving long term care over the year decreased slightly year-on-year by 4,000 to 868,000.

The total number of completed episodes5 of short term care to maximise independence6 was 242,000, a decrease of 2.1 per cent from 2015/16's total of 247,000.

Some councils provided comments regarding the change7 in expenditure for their councils, citing factors including the introduction of the National Living Wage8 on 1st April 2016 and an increase of support for complex needs.

The average costs of care per week for residential and nursing care have risen in 2016/17:

  • The cost of residential care for a person aged 65 and over was £565 a week in 2016/17, rising from £549 in 2015/16.
  • The cost of nursing care for the same age band increased to £606 a week from £563.
  • For those aged 18 to 64 the numbers receiving residential or nursing care in the year are much smaller than the 65 and over age group, but a similar year-on-year effect can be seen with costs for nursing care rising to £911 in 2016/17 from £871 the previous year, and residential care increasing to £1,236 from £1,205.

There is a large amount of variation in year-on-year spending2 among councils. Ten councils reported cash terms increases of over ten per cent, four of which reported increases of over 20 per cent. In comparison, 42 out of 151 councils9 reported a decrease in expenditure compared with 2015/16.

Also published yesterday by NHS Digital wa Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework (ASCOF).10 Findings of this report include:

  • The proportion of adults with a learning disability in paid employment has fallen each year over the last three years, from 6.0 per cent in 2014/15 to 5.8 per cent in 2015/16 and then 5.7 per cent in 2016/17.
  • The proportion of adults with learning disabilities in paid employment varies across English regions. London (7.2 per cent) and Eastern (7.1 per cent) have the highest proportion; North West, East Midlands and West Midlands have the lowest at 4.2 per cent.

Read the full reports

Click here to read Adult Social Care Activity and Finance Report, England

Click here to readMeasures from the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework, England 

Click here to access a new interactive tool covering all Adult Social Care (ASC) statistical releases produced by NHS Digital on our new Adult Social Care Analytical Hub.

Notes to editors

  1. NHS Digital is the national information and technology partner of the health and care system.  Our team of information analysis, technology and project management experts create, deliver and manage the crucial digital systems, services, products and standards upon which health and care professionals depend.  During the 2016/17 financial year, NHS Digital published 292 statistical reports. Our vision is to harness the power of information and technology to make health and care better.
  2. Gross current expenditure is the measure used throughout this report, as it gives an account of all local authority expenditure including income from client contributions, which is expenditure that is not included elsewhere in government accounts. Users of this report may be interested in the overall estimate of public spending on adult social care, which in 2016/17 consists of the net current expenditure (Local Authority spend) plus spending on the Better Care Fund, to give a total of £16.75 billion.  A full time series of the estimated public spend on Adult Social Care can be found in table 1 in the report. The main focus of this report, however, is Local Authority expenditure and activity.
  3. Information on the adult social care council tax precept can be found on page 6 of this document: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/512402/Council_tax_levels_set_by_local_authorities_in_England_2016-17.pdf
  4. Only requests for support from new clients where an outcome was determined in the year are included in these figures. A new client is defined as someone who is not in receipt of long term services at the time of the request.
  5. These figures include both new and existing clients, where an outcome had been determined within the reporting period. It is a count of requests for support, not of individual people, because one person may have multiple requests for support in the year. In addition, as this is a count of requests for which an outcome was determined in the reporting year, it will not include any clients receiving services where the request and subsequent support was determined in a previous year. Therefore this figure should not be assumed to include all clients receiving adult social care support in the same reporting period.
  6. Short term support to maximise independence is terminology introduced in the Equalities and Classifications framework to describe a range of services that are of short duration (typically being provided for a few weeks) and that have the explicit aim of trying to minimise the person's use of ongoing social care services. Please note that short term care is presented as a count of episodes and not people; a count of people receiving services is not available in this return.
  7. Full details of all comments provided by councils can be found in the data quality tables which accompany this report.
  8. National Living Wage: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-living-wage-nlw/national-living-wage-nlw
  9. Data for the Isles of Scilly were not submitted.
  10. The Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework report provides analysis of data on adult social care outcome measures, definitions of which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/adult-social-care-outcomes-framework-handbook-of-definitions  For several of the measures, data can be broken down by age group or gender.
  11. In this release, numbers over 10,000 have been rounded to the nearest 1,000, numbers over 1 million rounded to the nearest 100,000, numbers over 100 million are given to the nearest million, and percentages are rounded to one decimal place.
  12. For media enquiries please contact media@nhsdigital.nhs.net or telephone 0300 30 33 888.


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Original article link: https://digital.nhs.uk/article/7896/Social-care-spending-up-556m-as-costs-also-rise

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