Research and Analytics


CIPFA Personal Social Services Actuals Statistics

August 2000
This statistical booklet relating to Personal Social Services contains details of actual expenditure and income for 1998-99 together with non-financial data which in total provide a substantive analysis of the different activities for local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland. This is the sixth publication to reflect CIPFA's revised standard classification for social services which applies to published financial statements for financial periods beginning on or after 1st April 1993 for England and Wales and 1st April 1994 for Scotland.

During 1996 the SIS Personal Social Services Working Party completed a major review of the information requested from authorities. The key objective of this was to respond to growing demands for more meaningful unit cost information to assist with the purchasing role.

The most significant changes are as follows:
  1. Expenditure and Income is now analysed between Own and Other Provision.
  2. Data relating to Standard and Inter Authority Charges / Average Prices have been introduced.
  3. Capital Charges are included within Gross Expenditure throughout.
  4. A new client group, 'Other Adult Clients', has been created to include clients with drug, alcohol or solvent abuse, AIDS / HIV initiatives and the Offenders Services in Scotland.
  5. Home Care, Meals, Disability Equipment and Adaptations are analysed over each client group.
  6. The analysis of Service Strategy and Regulation has been expanded.
  7. Client Activity relates to Resident Weeks, Placement Weeks, Sessions attended, Hours of Care and Average number of meals.

All clients are included in only one client group. Where difficulty arises in identifying the appropriate client group, the primary cause for social services involvement is used for the classification of adult clients. For children with disabilities it is likely that they would be included in the children and families division.

The Children Act 1989

The Children Act 1989 requires local authorities to take appropriate steps to identify 'children in need'. This is defined as those children who require local authority services in order to achieve and maintain a reasonable standard of health and development.

The main requirements include:
  • authorities must maintain a register of carers for children under the age of 8 years.
  • authorities are to charge a fee for this registration and for annual inspection.
  • authorities must provide a range of services for young people no longer being looked after, including advice and information, a 'befriending' service and assistance in cash or in kind.

The National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990

The National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990, has significantly changed the role of social workers in community care and, in particular, has increased the emphasis on flexible packages of care for people within the community, packages which are bought by social workers on behalf of their clients from a range of providers. Therefore, there is a need for a more rigorous treatment of overhead costs to ensure that the full costs of care are identified.

Capital Charges

With effect from 1st April 1994, local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland were expected to adopt a new system of capital accounting designed to promote accountability for the use of scarce resources and to improve asset management. Authorities are required to compile an asset register of all their capital assets and calculate a capital charge for the use of those assets.

Capital Charges are included as part of Gross Expenditure.

Service Strategy and Regulation

SSR comprises only costs which would remain if there were no directly managed services. It relates only to statutory duties specific to social services and excludes the statutory duties of the authority to provide services to specific client groups. SSR comprises the staff, accommodation and services needed to support the following activities performed at the minimum level that would be necessary if an authority had no direct management responsibilities for social services:
  • Meetings of the statutory social services committee
  • Director of social services
  • Preparation of the social services budget
  • Registration and Inspection Unit
  • Complaints procedure
  • Strategic information, research and planning
  • Liaison with outside bodies for strategic planning purposes

Social Services Management and Support Services

Support services are those which support the direct provision of services to the public (whether by the authority or by other providers). They are supplied to assist direct providers of services to the public in carrying out their main functions and assist care purchasers in obtaining care from providers, both from within and outside a local authority. Support services may be supplied in a variety of ways - for example by staff of the social services department itself, by other departments of the local authority or by outside bodies.

Ultimately all costs accounted for under SSMSS should be fully apportioned to other divisions of service, either by means of an apportionment or a charge.


Comparisons with previous years' statistics are not strictly comparable.

Since 1995-96, income from Community Care Transitional Grant and other specific grants have been excluded from the analysis of expenditure for each client group. The total amount received in respect of specific grants is shown at Column 13. In previous years specific grants have been included throughout the publication within the provider analyses.

As previously mentioned, Capital Charges are included as part of Gross Expenditure whereas in previous years they are excluded.


A detailed examination of the statistics will show that the level of involvement of individual authorities in particular activities varies widely, thereby reflecting local need, policies and problems that may have been encountered.

Readers are requested to exercise caution when making comparisons between authorities as certain items are treated in a variety of ways. For example, the level of support services allocated directly, rather than by recharges, varies considerably. Similarly, many authorities make payments to the private and voluntary sector net of income and some authorities have been unable to fully analyse their Capital Charges.

Client Activity

Client Activity in this table relates to Resident Weeks (Residential Care, Secure Accommodation and Nursing Homes), Placement Weeks (Foster Placements), Sessions attended (Day Nurseries and Day Care), Hours of Care (Home Care) and Average number of Meals (Meals).

Summary Tables

Analysis of Expenditure and Income
Net Revenue Funded Expenditure (including Capital Charges)
Net Cost per Head of Population (including Capital Charges)
Client Activity in 1998-99
Average Standard Charge / Price

August 2000

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