The Birmingham Post reports that High Court rulings in two cases about the budget cuts by Birmingham City Council, mean changes have been halted. Referring to the social services case, the article says that,
The financial implications from the latest court case could be serious. The council expects to save about £53 million by 2014 from limiting social services provision to adults with critical needs and may now have to find the money from elsewhere.
Waste Upon Waste
There are many examples of waste here. But the primary error is leading to an explosion of waste as a consequence.
That error is that the council seems to be trying to save money by cutting services and grants. Taking the social care aspect, this causes money to be spent re-assessing people currently in receipt of care. Some of those people will still require care after the assessment. Others will be reassessed at a lower level of service or none at all. In some of these cases the lower level of care will mean they place extra burden on family, friends and neighbours. In cases where other people can’t fill in, in the situation will deteriorate increasing the likelihood of hospital admissions and the need to receive a higher level of care than they currently receive much sooner.
In taking these measures Birmingham City Council have been taken to court. I dread to think how much that case cost to bring and for the council to defend. More waste. Add in the waste of the planning and implementation of the changes that are now halted and add onto that the cost of changing those plans.
There is more non-financial waste in the stress that is caused to the cared for. Stress and worry caused by firstly being told they would be reassessed and now being told those plans are on hold. This stress and worry may cause physical problems in the future which means that their care needs increase. The non-financial waste becomes financial.
So what should the council have done instead?
If they had looked to improve their services first before cutting, they would have found that giving better service, more quickly, cuts the cost of providing the service and keeps people well for longer, reducing the need to increase the level of care. The court case could have been avoided and the stress and uncertainty would have been removed. Instead, people will have been happier with the improved service.
It is the art of not doing what is obvious, but instead doing what is right.