Consultation begins on next steps in adult social care
Shropshire Council’s Cabinet today (Wednesday 7 March 2012) received an update on how people are being supported to use personal budgets to choose which adult social care services best suit their needs, and agreed to consult on the next steps.
Traditionally, the council has made the decisions on the care people receive. However, in 2011, during the most comprehensive consultation on adult social care in the history of Shropshire, people told the council that they want to have more choice and control over the services. People shared how they want a wider range of personal support that enables them to remain independent and active members of their communities for as long as possible.
The key messages on the sorts of approach people want included individual packages of care, care that offers independence and choice, and a variety of day care provision. The consultation shaped a new strategy for adult social care which drives forward what people told the council by focusing on equity, choice and variety in the way support is provided.
As part of the development of these more personalised, varied services, the council is aiming to help all people who are eligible for social care support to use personal budgets, which is also in line with Government guidance. Personal budgets allow people to take greater control over their services, by choosing what they want to spend their money on, based on what will meet their needs.
As more people are supported to choose services in this way, there needs to be a range of services available, with the associated costs, so that people know what they can get for their personal budget amount.
To offer this the council needs to address inconsistencies in its current charging and contribution arrangements for in-house or directly provided day care. At present, these are inconsistent with all other adult social care support provided by the council, with such support from other providers of day care, and with how other councils within the region deliver these services.
There is currently a disincentive for organisations to come forward to add to the range of services and for individuals who attend council delivered day centres to consider personalised alternatives, as these individuals do not make a contribution to the cost. However, people using other adult social care services, such as home care, are making a contribution.
Cabinet today approved a wide ranging consultation on the personalisation of daytime support and the extension of a fair charging policy to this area of adult social care to achieve this, asking people for their views on which elements of day care services should be charged for and the timescales of any changes.
Any policy would still ensure that no-one makes a contribution unless they are able to pay. No-one is charged for the service they receive unless they have had a financial assessment to determine their ability to pay.
Councillor Ann Hartley, Cabinet member with responsibility for adult social care, said:
“During consultation last year people told us how we should develop adult social care services, and we are carrying out a range of actions in response.
“We are now looking at the next steps in ensuring we provide support that best suits people’s individual needs by offering more choice and control, and helping people to remain independent and active members of their communities.
“This involves transforming the way day care is provided by supporting more people to use personal budgets and addressing the current inequalities that are currently denying people this option.
“While this means that daytime support needs to be brought into an overall charging policy, we are confident that by changing in this way, we can deliver the new services that people have told us they want. At the same time we can make the savings needed due to Government cuts, face increasing demand from a growing number of people and still ensure that no-one makes a contribution unless they are able to pay.
“Following today’s decision, we will be meeting with adults who use day care services, carers, representatives from advocacy and other independent organisations, health trusts, GPs, councillors, residents and staff, as well as holding events for the public across the county.
“We want to hear people’s views on this approach and the best way for people receiving daytime support to use personal budgets and make a fair contribution based on their ability to pay, in the same way as other people using adult social care services.”
Councillor Steve Charmley, Cabinet member for health and well-being, added:
“To keep the quality we want, the way we do things has to change.
“By supporting people to choose services, rather than us making decisions for them, they can consider alternatives they may find more convenient, enjoyable and beneficial to traditional services. They can do things they may not have previously had the opportunity or confidence to pursue.
“Cabinet today agreed to wide-ranging consultation on this way ahead, and as part of this, introducing a fairer charging policy across adult social care services, which addresses the issue that some people are paying for services and some are not, enables more people to use personal budgets and encourages more organisations to add to the services available.”
Consultation will take place from 8 March to 3 May 2012. As part of the range of activities, people are encouraged to come along to public events which will take place at:
- Council Chamber, Shirehall, Shrewsbury, on Wednesday 21 March, from 2.30pm to 4pm
- Helena Lane Day Centre, Ludlow, on Wednesday 28 March, from 3.30pm to 5pm
- Council Chamber, Oswestry area council headquarters, Castle View, on Monday 16 April, from 10.30am to 12pm
People can find out more about the consultation and share views in the following ways:
Telephone: 0345 678 9005
Facebook: Go to www.facebook.com and search for Shropshire:livelifeyourway
Twitter: Go to www.twitter.com and search for @livelifeyourway
Post: Live Life Your Way, Assessment and Eligibility, Shropshire Council, Shirehall, Shrewsbury, SY2 6ND.