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CIPFA and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services’ (ADASS) have developed an advisory risk assessment tool [PDF, 87KB] for discretionary use by councils with adult social care responsibility.
The aim is to check whether unsustainable financial pressures might be faced by the adult social services department. By assessing the extent to which various risk factors apply, the tool gives a broad impression of how challenging it is likely to be to generate future savings.
The extent of difficulty faced will be a function of the proportion of the 26 questions for which a high risk position is indicated, and the scale and speed of savings required. The aim is to facilitate informed discussion and consideration across finance and social care together of the practical deliverability of budget proposals.
While the ideal is that the tool is applied in a universal manner across councils to provide transparency and consistency, the tool is designed to allow for local interpretation and application. Some of the metrics are more illustrative than prescriptive, particularly those relating to unit costs, and councils may wish to adjust these to reflect local circumstances.
You can see CIPFA’s Rob Whiteman and ADASS’s Simon Williams discussing the tool’s value below.
To give a flavour, risk is held to increase if there have, historically, been high percentage savings; if there is a relatively low spend per head of population; if there are relatively low costs of care; if carer services are comparatively poor; if there have there been more than two directors of adult social services in the last five years; if there is a difficult relationship between the director of adult social services and the chief executive and/or chief finance officer; if there is a financially challenged local health economy; or if there are complex relationships with the local clinical commissioning group(s).
This is work in development, and is at this stage in document form, having been launched as rapidly as possible in order to ensure that finance and social care staff can use it together when setting budgets for 2016/17. The plan is to produce an interactive online version in due course. To assist in that finalisation, we will welcome feedback as to its usefulness and whether any changes would be helpful: please contact E: email@example.com or E: firstname.lastname@example.org.