north south divide suggested in adult social care budgets


BBC research of local councils in England suggests a divided country when it comes to spending on social care.

The research, conducted in association with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), maps the effect of local authority finances on local services following the Government's Spending Review.

It was designed to establish a like for like measure of the levels of spending for 2011/12 across all local authorities.  Out of 352 councils, 268 replied to questions about their planned expenditure for this coming financial year.

The research suggests that, of those councils who replied, spending on adult social care in the Midlands and the North will fall by 4.7% this financial year (Adult Social Care includes spending on things such as adults with learning disabilities, home care, residential care placements, assessments, management and services not just for those over 65 but those below that age with care needs.)

However, in the South spending on Adult Social Care will go up by 2.7% (£3.261bn to £3.335).

Overall, total social care budgets of the 73 councils in this sample that are responsible for Social Care services are being cut by approximately 2.6% (£9.798bn to £9.540bn).  Some adult services have been incorporated into housing or leisure plans in some areas. Other councils are transferring functions and roles to other authorities.

As well as making cuts to the Adult Social Care budget some councils are increasing charges and raising the eligibility criteria for services.

Social Care for children is being cut in both the north and south, though in the South by half as much.

It equates to a 7.4% reduction in Child Social Care in the Midlands and the North and a 3.5% cut in the South.

The government has set up an independent commission into the funding of social care, which is due to report in July.

Also from the survey:

Cultural and Related (including libraries) spending will decrease by 10.25% from 2010/11 (£1.101bn to £0.989bn).
Environmental spending will be lower by 3.7% (£1.840bn to £1.771bn).
Education spending will fall over 2011/12 by 11.40% (£1.640bn to £1.453bn).
Controller of BBC English Regions, David Holdsworth said:

"Information about cuts, savings and reductions in local budgets has been a regular narrative of 2011.  This survey provides audiences with a snapshot of how each local authority intends to implement its savings using a direct comparison with last year.

Our local radio teams, alongside regional and network TV colleagues will be assessing the story and context behind those figures to see how each council is coping in this new financial climate."

CIPFA Director of Policy and Technical, Ian Carruthers said:

"This survey provides the first overview of levels of council expenditure. In light of the spending cuts, balancing council budgets has been incredibly tough for finance directors and no individual council service is exempt from the pressure to make cuts. Councils are clearly trying to meet the needs of their communities but people will have to get used to receiving less from their local council."


For further information on the survey or programming contact:

Kate Buxton
Communications Manager, South, BBC or 07872 412 894

For information on CIPFA contact:

Chloe Forbes
Press Officer or 020 7543 5787

Notes to Editors:

It is a condition of using this research data that you use the following information in your copy:

Council Spending: Making it Clear is a BBC/CIPFA assessment of council spend across England for local radio, regional and network TV and BBC online.

You can find further information at

Methodology statement:

This survey collected a snapshot of local authority estimated Net Current Expenditure for selected areas. Net Current Expenditure is defined as expenditure on employees and running expenses net of sales, fees and charges, internal recharges, other non-grant income but gross of expenditure funded by specific grants and interest receipts. The figures that were collected by the BBC in the public interest are necessarily early estimates at this stage. Figures may be subject to change. 268 of 352 councils replied to the survey. 73 of the 151 councils responsible for Social Care replied to the survey.

BBC English Regions conducted the research from 9th February 2011 to 28th April 2011 with guidance and advice from CIPFA.

The research was conducted by the BBC, supplied and verified by councils themselves and checked by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) between 14th February and 28th April 2011. It is important to note that this research does not imply that a reduction or increase in funding for a service equates to a reduction or increase in the level of service itself.

The top line figures on total education services, social care, housing, cultural and related services were requested alongside the level of reserves councils have available.

The survey was based on headings consistent and based upon the CIPFA Service Expenditure Reporting Code of Practice (SeRCOP) * which is used by CIPFA, the government and other bodies, in assessing the spend of local authorities.

CIPFA - The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, CIPFA, is the professional body for people in public finance. CIPFA’s 14,000 members work throughout the public services, in national audit agencies, in major accountancy firms, and in other bodies where public money needs to be effectively and efficiently managed. As the world's only professional accountancy body to specialise in public services, CIPFA has a long history of dealing with public finance data and surveys.