Mark Cunningham, Chief Operating Officer:

“2015/6 will present a immense funding challenge to The Fed with cuts predicted by all three local authorities (LAs) with whom we contract. Cuts by Salford, Bury and Manchester will affect services across the board and impact on all age groups.

This follows the considerable reduction in funding we’ve experienced over recent years. To give one example: both Bury and Salford LA’s hourly contract rate for Project Smile – our respite service for children with special needs – were reduced from £17.50 in 2010 to £14.50 in 2014 whilst industry specific costs are rising at the rate of 5% per annum.

Now the pressure is on us to reduce our hourly rate further which could result in us losing LA contracts. We cannot afford to trim costs any further if we are to preserve the high standard of service we offer. What does that mean to families? They will be forced to go to inferior providers outside the Jewish community who do not have the same level of cultural and religious expertise, don’t pay their staff a living wage which reflects the challenges of the job and are not able to provide the level of staff supervision and training necessary to maintain a quality service.

We are also being squeezed at the other end of the age spectrum as the shrinking public purse means that LAs are tightening up further on the qualifying criteria for receiving publicly funded residential and nursing care. That will leave more and more people struggling to live in the community and at risk.

When I was a student social worker twenty years ago someone in their 90’s would rarely be declined funding. Even if a person manages to qualify for funding to move into care, the gap between what The Fed is paid by the LA and what care actually costs will continue to grow.

Over the last ten years the LAs have applied between 0 and 2 % annual funding increases but our expenses continue to increase at around 5% per annum. Last year this resulted in an average shortfall of £250 per week per resident in residential care – rising to up to £350 per week for someone requiring nursing care. Families may partially bridge the gap – if they exist, if they can afford to and if they are willing. Last year this shortfall cost the charity £1.5m and this year we know it’s going to grow even more, placing ever greater pressure on our fundraising department.

We’re being hit from all angles.”