3.4 Other Factors
Employment, Housing & the Care Sector
The unemployment rate is 4.7% compared to the national average of 6.5% and average wages are £506 per week. Whilst this is good for the wealth of the district it also means that it could be more difficult for health and social care service providers to recruit and retain staff against the competition from other employers. In fact, in January 2015 alone, 129 new small businesses started up in the district.
With average house prices in excess of £180,000 (Autumn 2015), high private rents and a shortage of social housing, these are also factors which can make it difficult for lower paid workers in the care sector to move to this area for work. The number of live applications on the Council’s housing register stood at 5,444 in March 2015. It is recognised in the JSNA that a lack of suitable housing can be a barrier preventing the recruitment and retention of an adequate workforce for housing, health and social care providers. However, no formal assessment has been undertaken to date for South Gloucestershire.
In terms of employment, 79.8% of the working age population were in employment in March 2015, higher than the national rate of 72.3% and by June 2015 the number of local residents claiming job seekers allowances was further down again to 1500. There is an ongoing challenge to attract people seeking work, as well as up and coming school leavers, to consider a job or even a career in the care industry.
Wealth & Pockets of Deprivation
South Gloucestershire as a whole is an affluent area: only 10% of local authority areas in England are more so. Like most other areas in the country, there are locations places which are much worse off, and they represent about 10% of the population. These are known as ‘Priority Neighbourhoods’ and are in Kingswood, Staple Hill, Yate, Cadbury Heath and Patchway. Filton no longer qualifies but PN Strategy work will continue for two more years.
The Council recognises the continuing impact of welfare reforms, particularly on South Gloucestershire’s disabled population and that this also particularly affects younger service users under the age of 35 in terms of accommodation support. For example we recognise that there is ongoing potential that these changes may increase demand for social care services which in turn impact on providers and their development strategies to deliver Accommodation with Care. This has been most notably the case for providers and service users in obtaining suitable service based accommodation and then permanent ‘move on’ housing for young people and people with mental health support needs. Many households relying on benefits have been impacted by recent welfare reforms, which affects their ability to pay rent at local market levels and further restricts housing options and choice. There have been significant policy changes introduced in 2015 by the Government which impact on the supply of new affordable homes, particularly rental tenures. Any reduction in projected supply will impact on those seeking affordable homes and the use of temporary accommodation is expected to increase proportionately.
Emerging Demand and Population Changes
One aspect that these projections cannot accurately forecast is the effect of migration from war zones by refugees and people driven from their own countries by fear and oppression, people coming to work in South Gloucestershire’s expanding industries or people of retirement age moving to be live or to be cared for near where their children live. Indeed, South Gloucestershire has a reputation as an attractive area in which to live and work and this in itself will generate population increase along with accompanying pressures on local services. What is certain is that we must be mindful of our duty to provide care and support for all of our current and future citizens, as well as those who will come to live here temporarily for work or seek sanctuary in our area. To do this we must work increasingly with our providers, commissioning partners and local communities to ensure that we have the capacity and services in place now and in the future to meet the needs of everyone in our area.
Resources and Demand Profile
The Council’s medium term financial plan (MTFP) Council covering 2014 – 2020 has been agreed following widespread consultation to deliver a balanced budget over the period, with required projected savings in the region of £40m. Savings of £43m had already been achieved by 2014/15. In total, more than 2,300 people responded to the consultation and 68% identified care for vulnerable older people as the highest-priority service. Despite this the Children, Adults and Health Department’s share of the £40million to be saved is £13.7 million (13%). As we deliver mostly statutory services and demand is growing, as opposed to cutting across the services we provide, a significant amount of this will have to be achieved through how we commission services and support. This will require us all to work very differently to how we do at present.
Our total expenditure in 2015/16 for Children, Young People and Adult Social Care Services was £130.9 million gross, £101.3 million net, broken down as follows:-
- 35 percent on adult bed placements (£35.5m)
- 27 percent on support for children and young people (£27.1m)
- 25 percent on adult community based support (£25.6m)
- 10 percent on care management, commissioning and business support (£9.7m)
- 3 percent on adult housing services (£3.4m)
The Council’s budgeted provision for meeting its statutory duty in 2016/17 is £133.5m gross (£106.7m net)