Information and resources on resource management systems. Explore the links below to learn more.
What is resource management?Open
Resource management in local authority social care is the practice of:
- balancing competing priorities for resources while still delivering good outcomes for people who use services e.g. resourcing personal budgets and support for disabled adults and children, safeguarding services for adults and children, preventative strategies to promote well-being, and workforce costs.
- meeting statutory duties.
- demonstrating year on year cashable efficiency savings and 'best value'.
- using evidence to demonstrate cost effectiveness of spending decisions.
- managing budget and grant cuts from central government while maintaining service quality.
For service providers in adult social care, current challenges in budget management include:
- financial pressures of providing quality services for less money
- greater competition amongst service providers for less contracted work
- the growth of the micro-provider sector of personal assistants to support personalisation
- need to recruit and retain a skilled, trained and qualified workforce
- promoting the role of volunteers.
Managers should understand their area of financial accountability and their responsibility for particular budgets as appropriate.
In order to understand the wider context within which resource planning sits, you may find the following resource useful. 'Shaping the market for personalisation: Diagnostic and action planning tool' (Think Local Act Personal Partnership, 2011)
Or Strategic financial management in councils (Audit Commission,2010)
Increase in demand for adult social careOpen
Demographic changes are increasing the demand for adult social care. This trend is predicted to continue nationally and locally for the next decade. Forecasts indicate significant increases in:
- the very elderly population
- the number of children with physical disabilities, mental health problems and learning disabilities who leave the care of Children's Services
- the number of adults with complex learning and physical disabilities who require support.
The economic downturn is also expected to lead to an increase in the number of adults who become financially eligible for support as they no longer have the means to fund their own care.
The move to greater personalisation of adult social care includes a commitment to personal budgets for everyone eligible for social care support. This is having an impact on the way social care budgets are constructed and managed. Councils have developed resource allocation systems (RAS) that enable people who use services to know in advance:
- what resources are available to them as part of their personal budget
- what outcomes should be achieved through the use of this money.
See one council's explanation of how their resource allocation system works: What is a resource allocation system? Knowing how the RAS works is an important part of financial planning. To see how councils are managing personal budgets see Financial management of personal budgets: Challenges and opportunities for councils (Audit Commission 2010). The personalisation agenda also stresses the importance of investing in prevention, early intervention and reablement to reduce the occurrence of chronic health problems, and to move people to self-care after periods of health crisis. SCIE is undertaking a range of research on cost effectiveness in social care - for more information, see Personalisation, productivity and efficiency (SCIE 2010).
Integration of health and social careOpen
The Coalition Government has indicated its commitment to greater integration of health and social care. There are increasing moves for local authorities to share support services and posts, including chief officer posts as well as funding. Similarly, with the pilot of personal health budgets it would seem logical to expect the merger of personal health and care budgets. The NHS White Paper, Equity and excellence(DH 2010), proposes to move public health, with a ringfenced budget, to local authorities from primary care trusts, which will be abolished. Senior managers in social care will be aware of the direction of travel towards integration and understand the implications for management of their budgets. The Health and Social Care Bill 2011
This Bill, if passed by Parliament, will have a major impact on health and social care in England as it proposes to:
- transfer responsibility for public health to local authorities
- establish Health and Wellbeing Boards
- introduce GP-led commissioning
- reform health and social care arm's length bodies.
The Bill's progress can be tracked on the parliamentary website.
Key additional resourcesOpen
To understand how local authority finances are managed you may wish to consult the following documents:
- Audit Commission (2010) Strategic financial management in councils, London: Audit Commission. This document outlines the financial challenges ahead for councils and encourages them to take a long-term strategic look at managing finances. It contains a good practice checklist (Appendix 1) and a Self-Assessment Questionnaire (Appendix 2).
- National Audit Office (2010) A short guide to structured cost reduction, London: National Audit Office. This guide highlights key issues for public bodies to consider in facing the challenge of adopting a more structured approach to cost reduction.
- CIPFA (2005) Rough guide to developing a financial strategy in a local authority, London: CIPFA. This takes a six-step approach comprising a baseline forecast, a fit with corporate policy, developing a plan, preparing a draft statement, confirming the process and a proposal for measuring delivery.
- Local Government Improvement and Development, How do you know your budget is well-managed?, London: Local Government Improvement and Development.
- Carr, S. (2010) Personalisation, productivity and efficiency, SCIE Report 37, London: SCIE.
- Audit Commission, Performance management, London: Audit Commission. See how some councils are facing the challenges and where there is notable practice.
- Audit Commission (2010) Financial management of personal budgets: Challenges and opportunities for councils, London: Audit Commission. Progress by some councils is variable; people with mental health care needs are less likely to have a budget partly because of the problem of disentangling pooled budgets etc.
- DH (2010) Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS, Cm 7881, London: The Stationery Office.