Deputy Leader of East Sussex County Council, Cllr David Elkin, gives us an update on news from County Hall where funding remains a concern.
The County Council makes a huge difference to the lives of residents. We take the responsibility very seriously and were delighted that, following a rigorous inspection, Ofsted has judged our children’s social care services to be outstanding (see item below from Cllr Sylvia Tidy). Only one other county council has achieved this and we do so at low cost.
I am very confident that the County Council is extremely well run and managed but having adequate resources is vital. Cllr Keith Glazier, Leader of the Council, explained in June'sWealden News about our lobbying of Government to stand up for the people of East Sussex. We continue to lobby hard and have recently met Ministers and MPs to ensure they understand the impact the reduced funding is having on people’s lives and to press for a fairer funding deal for East Sussex. This work will continue relentlessly.
We are also lobbying hard on the expected Older People’s Green Paper: 64% of the budget is spent on social care so the decisions the Government makes nationally are key here. The proportion of people aged over 65 in East Sussex is over 40% higher than the England average (at 18% compared to East Sussex’s 26%). This places massive demands on care services locally. It means the impact of national approaches will be felt here first.
But lobbying is not enough. With so much already taken out of our budget over the last 10 years and a forecasted £46m more still to save by 2020/21, the County Council needs to continue its robust future planning. You may have seen in the Press that we are identifying a 'Core Offer'. This approach is to agree, in each area of our work, the realistic level of service we must provide, not merely to meet our statutory duties but to meet real local need in the current funding climate for public services. When we are clear about that we will be able to work out how in future to best run the Council, and work with our partners and communities.
There are more, very tough choices to be made. We will do so in a transparent way and will make the very best of all the resources we have for residents. We are keen to keep you informed and involved so if you have any questions or views please do let me know. firstname.lastname@example.org