In a bid to trim the budget burden of its social care programme, on the back of austerity demands, the Lancashire County Council has hired consulting firm Newton to assess possible administrative efficiencies. A conservative estimate on the cost savings is placed at £10 million of the programme's £375 million budget.
For many county councils in the UK austerity demands continue to affect their budgets and the people for whom they provide services continue to be under pressure. The Lancashire County Council (LCC) is no different, needing to find savings of £178 million on its £726 million budget by 2018. While the council intends to offset the depths of the cuts by increasing council tax by 1.99%, it too continues to eye other avenues of lowering expenses.
The largest part of the council budget, at around £375 million, goes toward providing adult and children’s social care services. In a bid to lower the costs of providing care, the council is looking at protecting its frontline by focusing savings on administrative and other back office reductions. To provide a fresh pair of eyes on its administrative efficiency, the council has turned to external advice.
To assist with a private study that assesses the efficiency in adult and children’s social care as part of a wider programme of economies, the LCC recently announced its hire of consulting firm Newton. LCC Deputy Leader David Borrow explains the scope of the study: “Their work is being focused on the administration side, rather than the service itself. They will be looking at social workers working with children and adults, how they do their work and spend their time, what they do in the office. They have worked with other councils and come up with changes which would bring quite significant savings.”
With Newton having proven itself in their service to other local councils, and with their fresh approach, the conservative estimate is that £10 million can be saved from the social care budget without affecting vulnerable people directly. The research activity will be undertaken over the coming months with the council decision for implementation to follow.