SOCIAL Care Minister Martyn Quayle says he will protect frontline services ‘wherever possible’ against budget cuts.
He said his department had a clear strategy to reduce expenditure by cutting administrative and support costs and by providing a wider range of community-based services where the need is met but costs are proportionate.
Mr Quayle said: ‘I will continue to do all in my power to minimise the impact on the most vulnerable in our community by protecting frontline services wherever possible.’
The budgets for key areas within social services will rise by 2.4 per cent from April to take account of inflation together with increasing demand for services.
Mr Quayle said his department had saved more than £1m in efficiency and related measures this current financial year and had budgeted to save a further £1m in next financial year.
An expansion of the fostering service, shown to deliver better outcomes for young people and at quarter of the cost of residential care, was expected to deliver £0.5m a year in savings for the next three years through the closure of several small children’s residential homes.
The department is also expanding its home care services for both the disabled and older people, enabling more people to remain in their home and again at quarter of the cost of residential care.
Savings that can be achieved will be dependent on the reduction of residential care provided by the department.
This is subject to further consultation, including with the private and third sector residential care providers to ensure there remains a good range of facilities available around the island.
At the same time as seeking to contribute to government’s overall financial savings, the department is facing significant growth in demand for its services.
Mr Quayle said: We are working extremely hard to manage the delicate balancing act of the need to control costs with the need to provide an ever-wider range of social services.’