Councillors have signed off a five-year plan to reshape a range of services in an attempt to cope with further cuts and an ageing population.
Rutland County Council approved the recommendations in its People First review at a meeting on Monday.
Among the changes proposed in a 100-plus-page document are: a county-wide review of transport; the introduction of “community agents” to work with the most vulnerable people; developing a health and social care hub at Rutland Memorial Hospital; charging for some care services; phasing out the current meals on wheels service; and creating a “citizens’ charter” to cover all council activity.
The council needs to save £925,300 in 2014/15, but the cost of providing some of the people-based services is expected to increase by £2m in the next few years as the elderly population increases by up to 70 per cent and demand for help rises.
Council leader Roger Begy (Con) said: ““Rutland is by no means immune to the impact of major changes to funding, legislation and the national demographic.
“There’s a great deal to be done over the next five years to implement this review and residents will have the opportunity to put forward their views if changes to their service are proposed. We need to plan ahead so that any changes are considered and by working together in this way we will ensure we continue to deliver the best possible services to those most in need.”
During the next five years the council will review all of its transport provision. Transport accounts for £2.6m, or eight per cent, of the council’s overall expenditure, with 60 per cent of that figure spent on statutory services.
An initial review that began in 2012 led to several changes, including the phasing out of home to school transport for pupils at faith schools. But the council believes a wider review is needed.
A new health and wellbeing team will be created to oversee social care. The team’s brief will include exploring the possibility of creating a health and social care hub at Rutland Memorial Hospital. This would offer a 24-hour response service, night care and falls response.
The council will also consider whether to charge for universal care services, taking into account people’s means.
Community agents will be introduced to take on a wide-reaching support role. They will act as a signposting service and will look after the most vulnerable people.
The council will review its day care services and replace those that do not match people’s needs or provide value for money. The current meals on wheels service will not be offered to new users and alternative options will be introduced.
A new service will provide a hub of accessible information and a single point of contact on health and social care. The aim is to help people to support themselves where appropriate and find the right services they need.
And a new citizens charter will be created, covering all council activity and outlining what people can expect from the authority.
The full document can be seen at www.rutland.gov.uk.