Report by the Chief Executive
39.1 The Chair introduced the report which reviewed the Committee’s input into the RPPR cycle for the 2023-24 financial year.
39.2 The Committee RESOLVED to note the report.
6.1 The Director of Children’s Services introduced the report which marked the start of the Committee’s input into the 2022/23 RPPR Cycle and provided a stock take of the Council’s position for scrutiny’s consideration ahead of more detailed planning for the 2023/24 financial year. The report contained as appendices relevant parts of the Council’s Year-End Monitoring Report which highlighted achievements and challenges for services the Committee scrutinised and the State of the County report which looked ahead at demographic, financial and policy trends and challenges. The Director highlighted that the Council was operating in a highly uncertain context due to COVID, developments in the national economic environment and significant reforms to services being brought forward by Government. The reform that generated the greatest uncertainty for the Council was planned in Adult Social Care, but there were also reforms planned in Children’s Services which would introduce significant change to the way services were delivered. The Director highlighted that the report offered the Committee the opportunity to consider if further information, or scrutiny, was required on areas covered in both the appended reports, and that the Committee’s views were sought on the principles for assessing one-off investment proposals set out at paragraph 1.6 of the report.
6.2 The Committee asked a number of questions regarding the information provided in the report:
· Impact of Adult Social Care reforms – the Committee asked how the findings of the fair cost of care exercise would impact the Council’s budget in future years and future care quality (i.e. would we expect care quality to improve as a result of paying higher fee rates to providers). The Assistant Director for Strategy, Commissioning and Supply Management confirmed that the fair cost of care exercise was live and clarified that it only applied to residential and nursing care for people aged sixty-five and over, and people receiving domiciliary care aged eighteen and over, so a range of other social care provision was excluded from the assessment (for example, working-age residential care). Determining the budgetary impact was partially reliant on understanding the funding that would be allocated by Government to support the reforms and next year’s funding allocation was expected just before Christmas. The Department was required to submit two versions of a market sustainability plan, one in October this year publishing the outcome of the fair cost of care exercise and a subsequent plan in February 2023, describing how ESCC would move towards paying the fair cost of care over the subsequent two to three years. The gap between current fee rates and the rates identified by the fair cost of care exercise would be the financial challenge the Council would need to address. The Chief Finance Officer confirmed that the assumed cost of the reforms for the Medium Term Financial Plan was currently net nil, because both the impact of the reform was unclear and the funding allocated had only been set out nationally in headline terms. There was yet to be a national consultation on funding methodology ... view the full minutes text for item 6