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I write again to express my concerns about an amount of £923,000 from the comhairle’s total contribution to the integrated joint board (IJB) this year of £19.36m being subject of a virement proposal to offset a projected overspend of this amount by the partner agency, NHSWI Board. The comhairle’s underspend is actually projected as being £1.155m. This is money which should be used for the purpose of promoting community care services, as in keeping with the IJB strategic plan, 2016-2019.


I’m informed that next financial year the IJB is having to make savings of £1.3m on its community care budget (comhairle contribution), with an allocation of only £117,000 for resourcing the requirements of the Carers Scotland Act 2016. This is money to provide support to informal family carers, who it is acknowledged help maintain dependent family members in the community, at home. Family carers are entitled from April of this year to receive an assessment called an adult support care plan. The outcome from such an assessment should include the need to provide respite care to help sustain such caring arrangements longer than may have been expected without this resource. The amount being allocated is derisory.


The financial regulations of the IJB state that any sum in excess of £20,000 requiring to be vired to balance the IJB budget, should be referred to the chief financial officer of the IJB. There appears to be no upper limit, but a sum of £923,000 seems excessive and is undoubtedly detracting from providing adequate and essential care in the community – a stated objective of the Scottish Government.  NHS boards across Scotland received additional funding from the Scottish Government this year to help them balance their budgets. NHSWI received an additional £700k for services as delegated to the IJB. The SG finance secretary required them to balance their books by means of “efficiency savings” and “workforce planning” – this they have failed to do.


The IJB will require to endorse these financial manoeuvres at its next meeting in March. There is an alternative. All or most of the comhairle underspend this year should be held in reserve, and used to mitigate the anticipated overspend next year, and thus ensure more funding for resourcing the Carers Act, home care, day care and respite care. This is in keeping with the IJB’s own strategic plan, often referred to as the “transformational” agenda. If we are serious about responding to demographic trends and providing adequate supports to family carers, then the comhairle funding this year to the IJB should be held for its intended purpose.


Andrew Walker

3 Kyles Flodda

Isle of Benbecula



Letter: £1 million community care money “should be used for intended purpose”

22 February 2018