Spending Review 2013 – Thoughts so far…..

Fresh from absorbing the public pronouncement on the spending review – just having a quick first trawl through the documents to see how the review sets the tone for housing, care and support going forward.

News to Look into….

Integration of Health and Social Care – I am drawn immediately to the announcements in relation to #integration. In 2015-16 there is to be £3.8bn of pooled funding which will focus on health and social care needs of older and disabled people – and needs to be jointly commissioned by health and local authorities. This attempts to further drive the integration of these two areas, with undoubtedly a keen eye on the changes in demography. Positive news, potentially – and will watch with interest how the Kings Fund commission on integration will lead innovative thinking about how to best maximise such opportunities.

There has been a growing focus on the need for housing in this movement towards integration – and the housing world has high ambitions for Jon Rouse, with his background in  both Local Government and the Housing Corporation to really recognise that integration without recognising the importance of home, will not be the answer. No doubt more detail to follow on this area – and will keep updated.

£3bn capital spending on affordable housing – Interestingly this was in the chancellors speech, but no details are to be found in the supporting documents. Details around capital expenditure will be available tomorrow – and we expect to see more about how this will work then.

Troubled Families programme has received a positive focus, and a longer term commitment to continue this programme. Good news in terms of recognition of the value of preventative services, but challenging for authorities as delivered on payment by results basis – and represents only 40% funding for the full service.

Innovation funding for police forces to carry out more joint work – including working with authorities on new and efficient ways to prevent crime and ensure peoples safety. Depending on how this is framed, may be funding which could focus on domestic violence, ex offenders and services such as Home Improvement Agencies.

News to watch out for……

Local Government Cuts – Page 37 of the main document talks details the reduction to Local Government DEL (Departmental Expenditure Limit). This amount has been reduced by 10% and comes after the 26% cuts imposed through the last spending review. The details of what that this will include are not available yet. It is only when the detail of this becomes available that detailed information about areas such as Supporting People and Homelessness grant will emerge. The timescale for any discussion around this is not available.

Welfare Reform – Further reforms to welfare for claimants of job seeking benefits. There are a number of changes announced which mayimpact on those most vulnerable job seekers – including the notion of upfront work search, weekly rather than fortnightly visits to job centres, all claimants subject to conditionality to verify their claim every year, and requiring all claimants whose spoken English is a barrier to work to improve their English language skills. There is no detail yet about how these reforms will be implemented, but the pressure and anxiety already caused by reforms may be increased by these additional requirements. It is also likely to put additional pressure on the support worker time, and will remain to be seen whether a sanctions based approach might be applied.

Departmental Cuts – Every department bar Health, International Development and the Single Intelligence Account (?) is on the receiving end of departmental cuts ranging between 1 and 10%. Eric Pickles has led the way with DCLG, and has cut 10% of the departmental budget.

The Spending Review Document can be found https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spending-round-2013-documents

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