Providing better adult social care services while spending less
Shropshire Council’s head of adult services, Stephen Chandler went on BBC Radio Shropshire yesterday morning (Thursday 29 January 2015) to talk about how the council is managing to provide better adult social care services while spending less.
It followed a nationwide cost of care study carried out by the BBC which showed that, during the last financial year, Shropshire Council spent less per person on care for the over 65s than any other council in England.
Within Shropshire the total spend per head of over 65s has reduced in the 10-year period from an average of £935 in 2003/04 to £644 per head in 2013/14, a reduction of 31%.
Stephen Chandler, Shropshire Council’s head of adult services, said:
“We’ve known this financial climate for quite some time. We’ve had a long term plan for creating resilience in Shropshire – that’s probably a 10-year plan which has a number of areas we’ve focused on. Firstly, we’ve invested a lot in prevention, that’s helping people stay healthy and well in their own communities and homes. Secondly, we’ve worked very, very closely with our partners.
“In October of last year there was an independent piece of work done looking at the quality of care, as rated by the regulator CQC (Care Quality Commission), on a council by council basis. Shropshire came out as the best performing council, with 96 per cent of services measured by CQC meeting the requirements. You can read the report here: http://www.caringhomes.org/quality-of-care/.
“The amount of money we have is really important; however, for us it is not the primary focus. Here in Shropshire it’s about how can we deliver the best outcomes for people at that time when they’re having a crisis or are in need. What we’ve done here in the council is redesign and fundamentally change how we support people when they contact us. So now, when people contact us, over 73 per cent of people we are able to satisfactorily resolve whatever it was that was causing them a problem at that time.
“How do we know that? Well, for the first time ever we are calling people back a few weeks later to check how they are, if they’ve followed our advice or if they’ve contacted any of our partners to get the right help for them. We’re receiving some really positive feedback.
“For those people who need more help, it means that they can enter the system earlier. We are also focusing on locally-based support, within people’s communities.
“So, for us it’s not just about money. It’s about we can make best use of the resources we have to continue to benefit and support elderly people across Shropshire.”
To hear the full interview, please click on the mp3 file on this page.
An honest account of the council’s work over the last year, through the eyes of its customers, their carers, staff and partners can be found in its most recent local account “Making it Real in Shropshire – our story so far” (http://shropshire.gov.uk/media/1311466/LocalAccountDec14-R26.pdf).
The council is well prepared for the Care Act (http://shropshire.gov.uk/adult-social-care/the-care-act/), which comes into effect on 1 April 2015.