This site is intended for health professionals only

PAC: Government not “sufficiently open” about ‘new burdens’ costs


2 December 2015

Share this story:

The government has “not been sufficiently open and transparent” in classifying new burdens and duties for councils, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) – a House of Commons committee which scrutinises the value for money of public spending – has said.

The government has “not been sufficiently open and transparent” in classifying new burdens and duties for councils, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) – a House of Commons committee which scrutinises the value for money of public spending – has said.

In a report released today the PAC revealed that the governments calculations for the cost of implementing the Care Act 2014 fall short. The government has calculated that new responsibilities under the Care Act will cost local authorities £470 million in 2015-16, and the National Audit Office estimated that the Care Act Phase 1 would cost £2.5 billion to implement in 2013-14 and 2019-20.

The Act – which reformed the law relating to adult care and carers – has added “significant costs locally”, the report read, and the committee found that government (specifically the Department for Communities and Local Government, DCLG) has not been adequately open about this, creating “considerable uncertainty” for councils.

Moreover, PAC are “concerned” about the time it would take for the Department of Health (DH) to detect councils that are struggling and initiate a response, even though the DH monitors the Care Act quarterly.

The DH is responsible for achieving the objectives of the Care Act, which aims to reduce reliance on formal care, promote independence and wellbeing and give people more control over their own care and support.

It is concerned the New Burdens Doctrine – the government’s commitment to assess and fund extra costs for local authorities from giving them new powers, and duties – does not guarantee funding for significant new costs.

The Committee is calling on the DH to develop a “properly resourced plan” for the implementation of Care Act Phase 2, including a clear timetable, and the DCLG to be more transparent about what is assessed and funded as a new burden, and what is not, explaining the reasons and funding behind this.

Moreover, the DCLG should routinely publish information on the new burdens it has identified, the reasons for its decisions on whether a new burden assessment is required, and the details of completed assessments, the PAC said.

Want news like this straight to your inbox?

Related news


Covid vaccine, booster
BMA warns ‘limited’ Pfizer and Moderna supply will delay vaccination programme
The BMA has said it is ‘concerned’ that ‘limited availability’ of the Pfizer and Moderna...
CQC appoints new executive director of operations
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has appointed current Home Office director general, Tyson Hepple, as...