At the countywide Health and Social Care Forum meeting held in Belper on the 18th May, Cllr Clare Neill, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care attended to give us an update on the current position regarding potential cuts to the Voluntary Sector.
Below is a brief summary of some of the key issues.
- Derbyshire County Council (DCC) must save £157m over the next 5 years to 2018 representing 32% of DCC’s total budget.
- Of this Adult Care will have to save £57m over the 5 years to 2018 starting with £18.5m in the financial year 2014/15.
- DCC has reserves of approximately £200m. The majority of these monies are ‘earmarked’ reserves. General reserves amount to approximately £31m. However, DCC is legally required to maintain a minimum general reserve of £25m, leaving only £6m of available reserves.
Current Position with regard to Voluntary Sector Funding
- A balanced budget for the financial year 2014/15 must be signed off by a Full Council in February 2014. Failure to set a balanced budget could result in the removal of DCC’s Cabinet and replacement by a management team from central government.
- Original proposals were for potential cuts of £750K in both financial years 2014/15 and 2015/16 with papers with full budget cut proposals to go to DCC Cabinet in January 2014 followed by a period of formal consultation.
- However, funding may be available (although this is not confirmed) which could be used to support the Voluntary Sector during 2014/15 whilst a comprehensive process and set of priorities is developed which will guide voluntary sector funding and cuts in 2015/16.
- A paper (attached) will go to DCC Cabinet on 3rd December which recommends the development of a Public Health Resource Fund to reduce the impact of reductions to preventive services across Derbyshire. This could form one route through which Voluntary Sector funding is protected but it is just one of several processes which will be implemented to guide where scarce resources are targeted. Derbyshire Partnership Forum will also develop a wider set of shared priorities for the County so if an organisation’s activities do not meet Public Health criteria its work may be picked up as part of a wider review.
What does the Voluntary & Community Sector need to consider?
- Is the proposal to develop processes and priorities through Derbyshire Partnership Forum fair?
- What other, potentially better routes, could there be to develop these?
- Can we identify services that are currently delivered via DCC that we could do more efficiently, cost effectively, offering better value for more?
- Are there areas of duplication where DCC delivers services also delivered by the Voluntary Sector?
- What can we do for ourselves now?
- What other funding steams can we be looking towards?
- Is there potential for organisations to collaborate including mergers, development of consortia etc. and how do we identify this?
- Will there be tendering opportunities? Are VCOs in a position to take these opportunities up? What sort of support would they need to help them do so?
What happens next?
NDVA and the Southern Derbyshire Health & Social Care Forum will be collating the feedback from the meeting held on 18th November. However, we are aware that this is a very important topic and that, following last week’s meeting, you may have had further thoughts or, given the size of the meeting, were unable to make points which you feel need to be included in the feedback, or you may have been unable to attend but still feel that you would like to contribute Therefore we have put together a very short questionnaire which can be accessed on the link below via which you will be able to add other comments or raise further issues. The deadline for completing the questionnaire, if you wish to do so, is Friday 6th December 2013.
Once all the replies from the questionnaire have been incorporated in to the feedback from the meeting, a report will be produced which will be disseminated amongst the members and sent to Cllr Neill and her colleagues at DCC to inform their next steps regarding Voluntary Sector funding.
We will then coordinate a further joint meeting of both Forums to review the position which will be dependent on what level of funding is identified to mitigate potential cuts to the Voluntary Sector in 2014/15 and what, if any, proposals were put to Cabinet in January 2014.
The date of this meeting will be 5th February 2014, the venue has yet to be confirmed but it is likely to be Belper.