Lancashire County Council Social Services has received a budget approval for 2004/05 totalling £264.9 million to continue providing and developing its range of support services for people with different levels of need.
The budget, approved by full Council on 12th February, means significant investment and improvements in the following service areas across two years:
- Mental health - £950,000 to fund service developments and the creation of new posts, in particular community support officers and integrated project workers to develop better links with health agencies.
- Learning disabilities - Over £600,000 to improve advocacy work and respite staffing levels, and extra funding for additional adult placement support workers to help people integrate into the community.
- Older people - £270,000 for short-term domiciliary care to assist hospital discharge arrangements for an estimated 2000 people per year leaving hospital and supporting them in their own home to avoid potential bed-blocking. An additional £560,000 allocated for specialist residential respite care for dementia sufferers.
- Direct Payments - £266,000 to develop the expansion of the Direct Payments scheme to enable a further 700 people across all service groups to benefit from such arrangements.
- Residential and nursing care - An overall budget increase of 6.4%. Additional provision of premium fees will be available to independent sector on preferred provider list to ensure national quality standards are maintained.
- Domiciliary care - Overall investment increase of 10.8% to support more people in their own homes. This includes increase in hourly fees paid to independent domiciliary care providers.
- Cultural appropriate care - £263,000 allocated for developing and encouraging take-up of support services for people from minority ethnic communities including volunteer services for older people.
- Children & Families - £750,000 investment in developing family placement services and a commitment to foster care support. £600,000 investment in recruitment of social workers and additional funding for safeguarding children. £500,000 investment for children in need. In addition, a total capital programme of £2.8million to build, adapt and refurbish a range of family support services and residential children's homes.
Commenting on the budget announcement County Councillor Chris Cheetham, cabinet member for adults services and health, said:
"I'm delighted to announce the new budget for Social Services for this financial year. This will mean significant investment and improvements across a range of service areas. I believe this investment reflects our vision and commitment in supporting more people to maintain their independence in their own home and in the community whether they are elderly or affected by some kind of disability.
"We are also seeking to tackle the problems faced by people with mental health problems and their families not simply by spending more money, but by investing some of that money in developing closer working with health agencies."
County Councillor Clive Grunshaw, cabinet member for Children & Families, added:
"I welcome this budget. It shows our clear commitment in providing Children's Services of the highest standards. In particular I would like to emphasize the new family support services, the continued investment in better quality and increased availability of foster care placements, and the efforts to safeguard children and young people through multi-agency partnership working as key examples of the improvements that are ongoing."
For further information please contact: Andrew Lynn on 01772 534372
County Councillor Chris Cheetham - "This will mean significant investment and improvements across a range of service areas"
County Councillor Clive Grunshaw - "It shows our clear commitment in providing Children's Services of the highest standards"