New housing with care places mooted as Norfolk County Council grapples with extra £12m savings
- Credit: Matthew Usher
An extra £11.9m must be cut from Norfolk County Council's budget for looking after some of the county's most vulnerable people - meaning spending will be reduced by £38.8m by 2022.
But £29m could be used to help provide 3,000 new extra care housing places in the county - to save money in the longer term.
Norfolk County Council is facing a multi-million pound spending gap over the next three years and committees are being asked to find ways to plug it.
Adult social services already has to make £27m of savings between 2019 and the end of 2022, but a report going before councillors next month identifies that £11.9m more must be saved.
Council officers have been working on a strategy to save money by reducing demand on services, through early intervention and by shifting away from residential care to people retaining independence in their own homes.
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The council is also due to join forces with other organisations to start a 10-year development programme to provide nearly 3,000 extra homes for older people in Norfolk - with a capital investment of up to £29m.
That includes apartments, rented or owned by people who need a level of care, with staff available to help 24 hours a day.
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Graham Creelman, OBE, chair of Norfolk Older People's Strategic Partnership said: 'This initiative is really important for Norfolk's growing number of older people.
'There is clear evidence that older people who are no longer able, for whatever reason, to live in their own homes, do not want a care home to be the only alternative.'
Another proposal is to save £2m by focusing on reablement, so people who have stints in hospital are safe to return home afterwards.
The council says that could help 800 people a year.
Bill Borrett, chairman of the adult social services committee at Norfolk County Council, said: 'As our ageing population increases and demand on services rises, we must look at how we can make the best use of our money to ensure that we are can continue to provide the right support to those who really need it.'
The council is also looking to save £2m over two years through changes to charging policies, which could see some service users have to contribute more to their care costs.