Nottingham City Council misses targets for social care savings

Loxley House in Nottingham, where the city council is based
Loxley House in Nottingham, where the city council is based
By Jamie Waller, Local Democracy Reporter

Nottingham City Council is falling behind in the savings that it needs to make in adult social care, with £25m needing to be found over the next four financial years.

The authority, which has declared effective bankruptcy, was only able to cut £4m of its £7m target over 2023/24.

Nottingham City Council is implementing sweeping cuts in order to close its budget gap, which have resulted in government commissioners being sent in to intervene.

Councillors have questioned whether the care targets are feasible as the authority tries to play catch-up.

The council’s Health and Adult Social Care committee grilled the department’s Executive Member, Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis (Lab), on Thursday (June 13) over the figures.

Councillor Georgia Power (Lab) said: “How can we deliver two years’ worth of savings in one year – particularly when it wasn’t achieved last year?”

She later added: “It’s not a surprise to anyone here that the budget cuts are not financially viable.”

Cllr Kotsonis admitted the savings target could slip further during this financial year, which has a £9.5m goal.

Catherine Underwood, Corporate Director for People Services, said that savings didn’t necessarily mean cuts to services.

“If we are able to keep someone with learning difficulties living in their own home rather than going into care, that saves money but also improves outcomes for that person,” she said.

A single plan has been formed to bring together the sprawling parts of the council’s large adult social care spending.

Councillor Sajid Mohammed (Lab) questioned whether this was “a knee jerk reaction, panicking with all these cuts and needing to be seen to do something”.

Officers denied this, saying they were making sure residents get good services while removing care packages that weren’t suitable.

Cllr Maria Joannuo (Lab) criticised the changes for being made top-down, rather than bottom-up.

“This process would have gone a lot quicker with frontline care workers. They often don’t get asked for their views,” she said.

“Heads of service often don’t know what’s happened when I talk to then.”

Roz Howie, Interim Director of Adult Health, Social Care and Commissioning, agreed more efforts needed to be made to consult with workers, saying: “We’re on a burning platform, and unfortunately this sometimes happens due to the pace we need.”

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