SOCIAL services in Carmarthenshire continues to be good quality but rising demand is “potentially disastrous” financially, according to a service director. Jake Morgan, the authority’s director of community services, said in his draft 2017/18 report that a focus on early intervention and prevention to reduce demand was paying dividends. He said the social services department had underspent again but that the financial outlook was “stark”. The biggest challenge was an ageing population combined with the increasingly complex needs of the very frail and elderly. Add in the rising costs of providing care for this growing number of people, he said, and there is a “potentially disastrous budget profile for all councils”. Provisional figures for Swansea Council, in comparison, have indicated a £4.7 million overspend in social services in 2017/18. Facts and figures from the Carmarthenshire Council draft social services report include: – 5,412 adults were helped in 2017/18 – The number of long-term residential care admissions dropped from 1,066 to 1,016, while the average length of stay in care homes also dropped – More people needed domiciliary care to be supported at home – Staff were better at adult protection enquiries than the previous year, completing 92% of them within a seven-day time frame – The proportion of looked-after children aged under 18 is one of the lowest in Wales, while the children themselves did better at school than the country’s looked-after average – Of the 537 people who responded to an adult care survey, 87% were happy with the care and support they received, while 55% said they could do the things that were important to them – The response rate to a children’s care survey was much lower, but 81% of the children who responded said they were satisfied with the care and support they received – Staff known as community resilience coordinators have been helping people with dementia and their carers. The priorities for 2018/19 include a pooled health and social care budget for residential care, working with the local health board to ensure appropriate mental health care services, and reducing both the number of looked-after children and the number of youngsters on the child protection register. Councillor Jane Tremlett, who holds the social care and health portfolio, told an executive board meeting that it was “a very positive report”. She praised the “can-do” attitude of staff, but noted the financial challenges ahead. A social services officer said safeguarding processes “are much-improved”, and that the creation of the £200 million Delta Lakes wellness and life science village in the coming years, which will include leisure facilities, extra care housing and nursing services, will help. But she added: “We know we have got a rise in demand and complexity of people coming in through the doors.”