Care and support services provided by third sector organisations continue to be affected by budget cuts – radically in some cases – threatening services and jobs in many local authority areas. During 2013, providers reported that across-the-board cuts of between 4% and 20% were imposed by a range of local authorities across the country, and further cuts for 2014-15 are now being announced.

CCPS is concerned that these cuts take no account of the significant reductions in operating costs already made by third sector providers in recent years, in respect both of efficiency savings and of difficult decisions about staff pay, terms and conditions. Neither do they take account of the consistently higher quality of care and support provided by the third sector, as demonstrated by inspection reports and gradings awarded by the national regulatory body, the Care Inspectorate.

CCPS monitors the extent of funding cuts on third sector providers through its regular provider optimism survey, which tracks the impact of local authority funding decisions on the sustainability of care and support provider organisations, the quality of services and staff terms and conditions.

In addition, CCPS undertakes more focused research on specific issues relating to funding for third sector care and support. In 2012, we published a report on hourly rates for care and support, and continue to promote its key findings.

As well as budget cuts to services, care and support providers are increasingly affected by the impact of welfare reform on the people they support, and the staff who work to support them. A recent research report commissioned by CCPS and the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS), and funded in partnership with the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), found that staff are facing unprecedented levels of demand, within services that are having to quickly adapt to meet changing needs, and, in some cases, without sufficient benefits information or training being readily accessible. The final report, based on interviews and workshop findings from a broad cross-section of voluntary sector care and support organisations, considered the impact of welfare reform on staff roles, welfare and wellbeing, as well as staff training needs. More information is available on the project blog page.

In addition, CCPS has worked with Shelter Scotland and CPAG (Child Poverty Action Group) Scotland to set up a new service for support workers relating to welfare reform: SCOTWRAS. See the link on this page for further information.

SCVO is currently researching the cumulative impact of welfare reform on organisations, and their service users and communities.  They have put together a short survey asking organisations to describe their experiences of welfare reform and any ideas for mitigation, with a deadline of 19 September 2014 to complete the survey.