Fairer funding for learning disability services

As previously shared on our website, Southdown has commenced a lobbying campaign to raise awareness of the precarious financial position of delivering community-based learning disability services, and the need to secure fair and appropriate funding to continue to provide quality and safe services.

As part of this campaign, we have been working with other local learning disability providers, West Sussex Partners in Care and the Registered Care Association, to ensure that local authorities and Councillors are fully aware of the issues as they set their budgets for 2019/20.

Southdown has had direct communication with all three of our commissioners across Sussex, taking the opportunity to outline our issues and the need for fee uplifts each year across our five-year financial plan to mitigate rising staff costs due to National Living Wage, general cost inflation and to rectify historic insufficient fee rises.

We have now received confirmation of fee increases for 2019/20, which vary considerably across the three local authorities in which we operate despite our costs being the same across Sussex. West Sussex have awarded a 4.15% increase in fees, East Sussex 2.5% and Brighton and Hove, very disappointingly, have provided no increases.

Although we appreciate the difficult funding position for local authorities, and the need for central Government to release their green paper on future funding of social care (delayed from 2017), the wide variance in fee increases raises concerns over the different approaches being undertaken by local authorities to sustain the local market.

In partnership with other providers and groups, we will continue to lobby and raise awareness of the issues, with a particular focus in Brighton and Hove ahead of the local elections that take place this May.