Today we publish proposals which are a first step towards delivering a balanced budget next year and being able to continue meeting the needs of our residents.
I will be able to talk more about these proposals next week and you will be able to read them in full on our website from 5pm today (Friday).
Overall we need to make savings totalling £33million in 2020/21 to be able to provide the services that our residents need and rely upon and to manage the increase in demand.
One of the areas where we continue to see a large spike in demand, because our population is growing older and people are requiring more complex care, is adult social care. For example, the number of people we provide paid for care packages has increased by 402 between 2015/16 and 2018/19 – rising from 3,468 to 3,870. We are meeting this demand by changing the way we provide services, in particular through the use of technology.
In the past year we have installed assistive technology in dozens of homes across the city. This has allowed those residents to keep their independence in their own homes, provides peace of mind for relatives and has helped the council to ebb the tide of soaring national adult social care bills.
People like Rolly and Jean who you may have seen on our social media channels this week. We installed technology in their home to allow Jean who suffers from dementia to remain living there safely and confidently. A few years ago she may have had to live in a care home for her own safety, but through some extra support at home, they can remain living together.
The technology that is now available is fantastic. Examples include voice activated devices which can be used as medication reminders and bed sensors, smoke alarms and property exit sensors which automatically trigger an alarm if, for example, someone with dementia tries to exit the house at 3am or if someone with mobility issues doesn’t return to bed after 30 minutes.
Each year the council spends £11million on nursing and residential care homes, at an average cost of £768 per person per week. Without assistive technology this bill could be much higher.
In fact, we estimate technology saves the council £500,000 every year – that’s money we can use to provide care for the growing number of people requiring it and other essential services such as providing homes for those in housing difficulty and supporting vulnerable children.
Please take time to read the budget proposals and tell us what you think. We need to know that before we can make decisions.