Social Services' Funds to Be Based on 'Flawed' Data

By Gainsbury, Sally | Public Finance, October 27, 2006 | Go to article overview

Social Services' Funds to Be Based on 'Flawed' Data


Gainsbury, Sally, Public Finance


Social services departments face an unrealistic funding settlement in next year's Comprehensive Spending Review because the Treasury is basing its calculations on inaccurate and inappropriate data, Public Finance has been told.

Despite local government protests, the Treasury is determined that the starting point for social care's CSR 2007 settlement will be efficiency savings, rather than additional resources, the Department of Health has warned.

Yet the Treasury is basing its assumptions about potential efficiencies on so-called 1PSS EX1' data returns, which social care leaders claim are inaccurate and misleading.

'Historically, they're not worth the paper they're printed on,' David Behan, director-general of social care at the DoH, told last week's National Children and Adult Services Conference.

That meant that discussions around unit costs and potential efficiency savings with the Treasury were made 'incredibly difficult... we just cannot afford to be in that position', he added.

PSS EXl returns are submitted to the DoH each year by social service departments. They break down the unit costs for both in-house and outsourced residential and day care on a daily or weekly rate.

But Anne Williams, vicepresident of the Association of Directors of Social Care, told PF the returns had been given a low priority as they had not been used for funding calculations before. There was great inconsistency in the way different authorities completed the forms and a risk that the Treasury would now ask all social services departments to reduce their unit costs to match the apparent cheapest. …

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