Cabinet to discuss adult social care feedback and proposals
Shropshire Council’s Cabinet is to discuss feedback received during a recent consultation on how to ensure all adult social care services are personalised and provided in a way which is consistent and fair.
Cabinet, on Wednesday 12 September 2012, will hear about the consultation which included looking at inconsistencies with other services in the way day care is provided and how people make a fair contribution based on their ability to pay. Councillors will be asked to agree the next steps.
The paper to Cabinet follows the development of changes to the way adult social care is delivered, after listening to and acting on the views of people using the services.
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 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 the strategy and 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 it was recognised that the council needs to address discrepancies 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 in 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, other adult social care services, such as home care, are subject to the fairer charging policy and people using the services are making a contribution.
In March, Cabinet approved a wide ranging consultation on the personalisation of daytime support and the extension of the fairer 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.
Consultation took place from 8 March to 31 May 2012 with adults who use day care services, carers, representatives from advocacy and other independent organisations, health trusts, GPs, councillors, residents, staff, and the public across the county.
Next week, Cabinet will be asked to consider the consultation feedback, support the use of personal budgets to modernise day services, and agree to the inclusion of day services in the fairer charging policy from 19 November 2012.
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 for health and well-being, said:
“The vast majority of people we talked to this spring said that the new personalised approach is already having a positive effect in day services, allowing people to choose a wide range of leisure, employment and social activities in a variety of locations. However many people also felt that there is room for further development in terms of available opportunities and how people access them.
“This echoes what we were told during consultation last year, and to take the next steps it is proposed that we need to transform 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.
“The proposals look to further develop the approach people have told us they want. At the same time, it is proposed that this approach means 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.
“Any decision relating to social care involving looking at contributions is not easy to take – and Cabinet will be asked to carefully consider the recommendations before making its decision next week.”
Councillor Steve Charmley, Cabinet member with responsibility for disability, added:
“Almost without exception, people we consulted with felt that individuals should be treated consistently. Cabinet will be asked to address the issue that some people are paying for services and some are not – and agree an approach which enables more people to use personal budgets and encourages more organisations to add to the services available.
“The recommendations are underlined by the recognition that to keep the quality we want, the way we do things has to change.”