Adult social care services in Shropshire – next steps
Shropshire Council’s Cabinet on Wednesday 7 March 2012 is to receive an update on how people are being supported to choose which adult social care services best suit their needs, and the proposed next steps in ensuring all individuals who are eligible are offered this approach.
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 were:
- Support for the individual
- Flexible individual packages of care
- Independence and choice
- Being able to stay at home for as long as possible
- An approach to enable people to make informed choices
- Offering a variety of day care provision
- Access to the same services within the community as everyone else.
The consultation has shaped a new strategy for adult social care which drives forward these messages by focusing on equity, choice and variety in the way support is offered and 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.
For personal budgets to be effective, as more people are supported to choose services in this way, there needs to be a range of services available for people to buy using their budget. A range of activities should be 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 they 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 on Wednesday 7 March 2012 will be asked to approve a wide ranging consultation on the personalisation of day time support and the extension of a fair charging policy to this area of adult social care to achieve this, including which elements of day care services could be charged for and the timescales of any changes.
While it is proposed that day care services would be brought into an overall charging policy, 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:
“Personalisation is about ensuring that services best suit individual needs – and by giving more people the opportunity to use personal budgets we can help to ensure this happens.
“We believe that it is absolutely necessary, on the basis of what people have told us and on the basis of ensuring we have modern, effective services, that, as part of this, we transform the way day time support is provided, with personalisation at the forefront.
“We have begun to work closely with people receiving services, carers and existing providers of support to use personal budgets as alternatives or as a complement to traditional day centre services, and need to build on this.
“We want to develop a service that meets the needs of our customers and at the same time addresses the challenges we are facing. 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.”
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. If people are able to make decisions about their support, it has been shown that they are able to achieve more of the things that really matter to them and can live their lives in a way that suits them.
“Cabinet will be asked to agree to wide-ranging consultation, with the people at the centre of these services, on having in place 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.”
If approved by Cabinet, consultation will take place from 8 March 2012 to 3 May 2012.