Why all councils need to be self-aware

Jon Rouse, Director General of Social Care, Local Government and Partnerships for the Department of Health writes this guest blog post for us.

As Director General of Social Care at the Department of Health you would expect me to think policy is important - and I do. We are now well into the preparation period for implementation of the Care Act. Last week saw the publication of the statutory regulations and guidance. The guidance is very important in setting out how the Act needs to be delivered in practice to make the policy intention of personalisation and well-being a reality for people. And yet I know that it is what people do on the ground in localities that matters most. With personal budgets at the core of the Act, it is crucial that local managers, professionals and people using social care work in co-production to improve delivery.

That is why I am a fan of POET. By checking directly with people using personal budgets and their family carers it provides vital information about outcomes, processes and experience, while allowing localities to compare themselves with other councils. In the appendix to the current report Leeds describe how they used the POET data with local professionals and people - identifying improvements that could be made and developing and delivering a plan to make them - including as part of their Making it Real plan.

The National Personal Budget survey shows us both that personal budgets can make a big difference in people's lives but also that there is too much variation from place to place. Analysis of the survey data shows that key things that improve outcomes - including reducing bureaucracy, involving people properly in planning,  flexible use of the budgets - come at no or low cost. Councils really need to use this learning at a local level.

I am pleased to see that 40 councils are using POET this year so far with more coming on stream over coming months, with support from DH and some regional ADASS branches. I remain concerned, however, that more than half of councils are not engaged - if these councils are not using POET to check results with local people and make comparisons with others I do wonder how they are making sure that they are self-aware and using this to keep improving. I would therefore encourage all Directors of Adult Social Services to take up the offer of support in the coming months. Here is a link for interested councils to find out how.

Read our other POET blog posts here.

3 comments for “Why all councils need to be self-aware”

  1. Gravatar of Andrew CrooksAndrew Crooks
    posted 29 October 2014 at 13:37:52

    I was at a POET review event put on by Leeds City Council and it was such a positive event. Really highlights how important the sharing of experiences and expectations of people in receipt of a PB is. It also highlights how vital it is to involve service users, officers, providers, third sectors and user led organisations as stakeholders.
    Without being led by service users and supportive organisations like MyLife in Wigan - and encouraging the challenging of bureaucracy and promoting imagination with PBs discussing the - PBs would struggle to deliver the independence they are designed to protect :)

  2. Gravatar of Steve webbSteve webb
    posted 06 December 2014 at 10:52:21

    I was diagnosed with early onset in 2008, shortly after I was informed about direct payments, however, It has taken 5 years to get direct payments sorted by way of a workable care plan and then only had funds for the past 6 months, I have been so frustrated from the varying level of service I have, and from the lack of information as to how and what I can use the funds for, even the CPA I have says the funds are only to pay for care... Sounds great but nothing then for fuel costs and nothing else ie eat or drink out, respite, social activities etc etc. And insult to injury my CPAP refuses to adjust my care plan and says, I've almost finished writing it for you! I wonder if she would also like to live this insula, lonely, painfull and horridly life too, or is it that I will die quickly from boredom.... Job done! Yes I am not happy! And don't know where to go from here! As contacted the CPA's manager, who cares very little amount emails or phoning patients back... So I wait again and exist, am I expecting too much?

  3. Gravatar of LauraLaura
    posted 10 December 2014 at 10:57:04

    Hi Steve, thanks for taking the time to comment on this, I have sent you an email... Best wishes

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Last Updated : 28 October 2014. Page Author: Laura Bimpson.