More effective social care assessments could save £312 million annually according to Audit Commission report

August 24, 2012 5:46 PM

A new report by the Audit Commission claims that councils in England could save £312 million annually if they carried out client assessments more effectively. The report says that in 2010-11 local authorities in England carried out around 1.8 million care assessments to assess client needs and eligibility for care and treatment. But the costs of carrying out these assessments varied widely across the country, with some councils spending half the amount of others, providing huge scope for savings.

The Audit Commission’s report claims that if all councils “reduced their unit costs of assessments and reviews to the median for councils of similar type and facing similar circumstances” that councils could save £182 million. The savings could reach £312 million if the average spend on assessments was no more than 10 per cent of all adult social care, in line with councils low cost units.

It is encouraging that the Audit Commission has discovered this vast opportunity for savings across English councils. While councils should be careful not to sacrifice standards of care if costs were reduced, which could potentially result in higher costs further down the line, the report reveals that savings can be found in administration, the timing of assessments (carrying them out earlier is cheaper) reviewing the grades of staff providing assessments and looking to collaborate with other councils to reduce overheads and costs.

Social care is one of the biggest costs for some councils, often with huge budgets and personnel. Even if all councils brought the costs of carrying out care assessments to the median level the savings could be substantial. It’s important that when all councils are looking to make savings that they look to other councils for tips on how to do things better to ensure that their local taxpayers are getting the best possible value.A new report by the Audit Commission claims that councils in England could save £312 million annually if they carried out client assessments more effectively. The report says that in 2010-11 local authorities in England carried out around 1.8 million care assessments to assess client needs and eligibility for care and treatment. But the costs of carrying out these assessments varied widely across the country, with some councils spending half the amount of others, providing huge scope for savings.

The Audit Commission’s report claims that if all councils “reduced their unit costs of assessments and reviews to the median for councils of similar type and facing similar circumstances” that councils could save £182 million. The savings could reach £312 million if the average spend on assessments was no more than 10 per cent of all adult social care, in line with councils low cost units.

It is encouraging that the Audit Commission has discovered this vast opportunity for savings across English councils. While councils should be careful not to sacrifice standards of care if costs were reduced, which could potentially result in higher costs further down the line, the report reveals that savings can be found in administration, the timing of assessments (carrying them out earlier is cheaper) reviewing the grades of staff providing assessments and looking to collaborate with other councils to reduce overheads and costs.

Social care is one of the biggest costs for some councils, often with huge budgets and personnel. Even if all councils brought the costs of carrying out care assessments to the median level the savings could be substantial. It’s important that when all councils are looking to make savings that they look to other councils for tips on how to do things better to ensure that their local taxpayers are getting the best possible value.

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