£30m extra is needed for care of learning disabled in the community, report finds

The report also suggested the current levels of residential care were 'unlikely to be sustainable' in the next 15 years


A projected additional £30 million will be needed to support Jews with learning disabilities over the next 15 years, according to a review commissioned by the three main communal charities operating in the sector.

Norwood, Kisharon and Langdon collaborated on the study into learning disability service provision. Its newly-released findings indicate that the three will collectively need to generate an extra £12 million from now until 2035 to fund support for increased numbers with complex needs. At least a further £18 million will be required for 100 more accommodation places.

A summary of the report — compiled from data from 18 local authorities in London, Greater Manchester and the Home Counties — suggested the current levels of residential care were “unlikely to be sustainable”. This was a result of reductions in beds funded by local authorities, which have declined by as much as 30 per cent in some areas over the past decade.

“The needs are many and the resources are few and this paper is a really sensible, sober and analytical view which will promote a debate about how we meet those challenges,” said Kisharon CEO Richard Franklin.

Neil Taylor, his Langdon counterpart, agreed that the report “gives us a real steer as to what we need to think about”.

Norwood chief executive Dr Beverley Jacobson reflected that although the scale of the funding problem was “enormous”, it would be managed over a 15-year period.

“I think it was very helpful in putting actual numbers to [the issue] and letting us as a community understand what is happening and the implications of it,” she told the JC.

The 221-page report also covered what Mr Franklin described as the “static” level of funding from local authorities, which have had their own budgets squeezed in recent years.

As the report acknowledged: “Local authorities cannot magic up additional resources and going forward they will find it increasingly difficult to meet their statutory obligations.”

Dr Jacobson was concerned that those with milder needs would be hit hardest by budget cuts.

The report also suggested that the three charities would need to decide “what their appetite is for more radical and consistent service development, particularly given a wider commissioning trend of buying less residential care”.

Going forward, they might “benefit from more joined-up working”.

The Norwood, Kisharon and Langdon boards have resolved to explore the potential, and appetite, for working together. Mr Franklin said the charities were currently discussing more than 20 areas of possible collaboration, including further education and supported living.

Feedback from families who took part in the study highlighted a preference for a wider choice of facilities — and in the levels of observance they cater for.

And despite the report noting the Jewish community’s “long history of self-reliance and philanthropy”, Dr Jacobson said the charities were “millions of miles” from identifying funding sources.

All three chief executives believed the findings of the review — authored in February — have not been altered by the coronavirus crisis.

However, Mr Franklin added that the pandemic had made issues surrounding funding “ever more concentrated”.

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