An additional 20,000 elderly people could be given care if councils in England cut costs, according to a new report from the public spending watchdog, the Audit Commission.

It revealed that it is possible to save £312 million each year reducing overheads by streamlining the administration which supports assessments and reviews.

Looking at the grade mix of staff, matching them more closely to their workload and collaborating with other councils will also enable local authorities to save money.

According to the report, spending on assessments and reviews went up in 12 of the last 14 years, with 2010/11's outgoings being £2.2 billion.

Andy McKeon, managing director of the commission, said that these reviews were a crucial element of social care as they enabled individuals' needs to be identified and met.

"As councils struggle to meet the needs of a growing older population with less cash, any opportunity to save money and redirect it into care should be pursued enthusiastically."

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written by James PuckleADNFCR-3337-ID-801435109-ADNFCR