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Health and care

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The council’s statutory social care responsibilities for children and adults, including the 650 or so children and young people in our care, now account for nearly two thirds of our overall budget.

By comparison, in 2010/11 this figure stood at just over one third. It is very clear that the amount and proportion of the overall budget available to the council that is now spent on social care across our services has grown significantly, whilst at the same time the overall budget has been reduced dramatically.

Despite this, social care is still massively underfunded. In 2017, it was estimated that some £4.6bn had been removed from social care funding across the UK. Estimates vary, but it is widely recognised that there is a very substantial funding gap between what we receive and what we need to spend on care for our communities.

It is clear to me that social care is under acute pressure and those suffering are some of society’s most vulnerable people. Though we continue to receive inadequate funding, and do not have a clear and adequate funding settlement for social care looking forward, the council will continue to do everything possible to drive up standards of care and make the best use of the budgets available.

The NHS is, of course, responsible for getting us better if we are ill, but Councils now have complementary responsibilities for keeping us healthy.

The council will continue to help the NHS where we can, particularly through those services or duties we have responsibility for which we know are important to the health of our communities.

Council leisure services are now overseen by our public health experts, meaning that we measure their effectiveness and impact against wider health benefits rather than simply bottom-line income generation. A similar approach has been taken in our long-term plan for tackling homelessness, recognising that support for rough sleepers is as much about improving their health and wellbeing as it is providing a tenancy.

Our lifestyle hub helps promote more exercise and healthier eating – key in Leicester, where we have a higher than average rate of type two diabetes; but also vital to prevent long-term heart conditions.

My priorities

Care

  • Sign up to Unison’s Ethical Care Charter which ends 15-minute care visits
  • Where we can, tackle care home staff ratios
  • Review the contracting out of social care services which will assess the viability and impact of charges, bringing social care in-house and/or establishing a new council owned care co-operative
  • Develop a ‘community connectors’ model to tackle isolation through active citizenship and community groups
  • Provide more support for carers
  • Ensure all young people leaving care who are employed by Leicester City Council receive the living wage and push other organisations and businesses to do the same
  • Aim to ensure that at least 70% of looked-after children leaving care are in education, employment or training
  • Protect council tax exemption and rent support for children leaving care.

Public health

  • Protect and invest in our leisure services, and keep them publicly owned
  • Building on the Cities Changing Diabetes pledge, each of our professional sports clubs and the council – Team Leicester – will establish a partnership promoting healthy lifestyles
  • Map all heart defibs in the city online and support CPR training in employment areas to make a Leicester a heart safe city
  • Improve the public realm with our aging population in mind
  • Publish an alcohol strategy and look to set up a Community Alcohol Partnership
  • Support all schools to take up the Roots to Resilience programme to help young people develop mental health wellbeing and resilience
  • Help get 20,000 people more active by expanding our Learn to Swim programme and bolstering our public leisure offer by investing at least £2m in our leisure centres