DESPITE budget costs and increased strains on children’s and adult social care, Wiltshire Council say it is investing in prevention to help families before they reach crisis point.

Councillors hit back at concerns raised that projects to prevent council intervention were being exchanged for statutory work under increased budget cuts in areas caring for vulnerable people.

Statutory duties for local authorities are the legal requirement that Wiltshire Council has to provide for people once they are in need of immediate help.

Examples of statutory care includes the corporate parenting of looked after children, creating care plans for vulnerable people and providing emergency shelter for homeless people through the severe weather emergency protocol.

However both the cabinet members for Children Services and Adult Social Care said early intervention work to improve people’s lives was the basis of all they do.

Services includes the newly formed Local Area Coordinators secured through 900k of funding work to address deprivation in communities.

The No Wrong Door service helps young people in care or on the verge of needing care services to get help without being passed from service to service.

Speaking during a meeting to scrutinise the council’s £332m budget for the next year Cllr Mary Douglas said: “Recognising long term increased budget pressures the council may be tempted to do only statutory provision which addresses the symptoms but excludes the preventative work that would reduce the symptoms down the line.”

Cabinet member for finance Phillip Whitehead said: “It’s unfortunate no one talks about improving services they only ever talk about the costs. We are doing a lot of work on how we make it service led not budget led. Years ago an officer would get a budget and think how to spend it. Now we are thinking what outcomes do we want for our children and adults.”

Cabinet member for Children's Services Cllr Laura Mayes said: “Our Families and Children Transformation programme is the basis of everything we are doing to get in early and get that preventative work done to make people's lives better.”

Cabinet member for Adult Social Care Cllr Jerry Wickham: “The issue is prevention here.

"It’s very very important. We have a determined plan and prevention is the way forward.

"It’s going to be 30 years down the line where do we pick up those savings from teams doing the work now such as the Local area Coordinators looking at deprivation.”