Big win: children, adults and families

Why this is a big win

In 2011/2012, councils spent £17.2 billion on adult social care and £8.6 billion on services for children and young people. Social care accounts for nearly 70 per cent of a council's budget and provides vital services supporting the most vulnerable in society.

Council budgets are being cut, yet the costs of care are rising (34 per cent in real terms in adult social care over the past 10 years and 3.2 per cent for looked after children from 2010/2011 to 2011/2012), the population is increasing (16 per cent overall and 64 per cent for over 75's) and life expectancy is rising (by one year for every six years).

To date, councils have demonstrated real successes in managing demand, focusing on promoting independence and well-being of communities, working more collaboratively with partners across an area, developing outcome based commissioning approaches and providing more integrated services with health. Significant savings have been made (ADASS report 7 per cent savings to adult social care budgets in 2011/2012), however, continuing to deliver savings of this scale will be difficult and there is a risk that in the future the non-statutory prevention and early intervention services will be squeezed.

Our approach

In the early part of 2013 we consulted with Local Authorities and key people working in health and social care as part of the LGAs ‘Rewiring Public Services' campaign. Through this, and our direct work with councils, we have developed some policy principles to guide our work on children, adults and families. These are:

  • Put people at the heart of our work
  • Take a whole community approach to services
  • Building civic and community responsibility
  • Ensure sustainability of public services.

Our work with councils has shown that transformation of social care involves:

  • A focus on interventions that build on the capabilities of individuals and communities to promote resilience and independence
  • Working more closely with all partners to manage demand for state funded service
  • Prevention and early intervention
  • Integrated commissioning for outcomes.

Our offer to councils

We work closely with central and local government, public, private and voluntary organisations and bodies to help the sector to continue to deliver savings in the following areas:

Children and young people

Children's services protect and support some of the most vulnerable children and young people in our society and account for the second biggest area of spend after adult services. We work with councils and others to give children, young people and families in their areas the best chances in life while reducing costs for Councils.


Adult Social Care services accounts for the largest area of spend in Councils budgets (40 per cent). The LGA works with Councils to develop new and innovative practice to transform services and ensure they are sustainable for the future.


The LGA works with government, councils and others to support troubled families. Innovative practice arising from the Community Budget pilots and the national evaluation of the Troubled Families Programme is being shared for the benefit of the sector.

Key related LGA content


For more information, please contact Amanda Whittaker-Brown