Redesigning the front end of social care

Today we publish a new paper urging the government to use the forthcoming White Paper as an opportunity to redesign the social care system at the point of need. We urgently need a system which is based on a partnership with people, rather than a battle.

The paper, 'Redesigning the front end of social care' has been published by In Control in partnership with Community Catalysts, Shared Lives Plus and Inclusive Neighbourhoods.

Focusing on what happens when people first encounter social care, the paper looks at people's experiences of assessments, discussions about eligibility and access to services. It explores what these processes do to an individual's independence and to their relationships with their families and communities.

We know that for many people it seems as if the most important question that social care professionals ask is: "Are you in or are you out of our system?

This is based on the belief that expensive and limited professional-led services are the only way of meeting most social care needs - this is absolutely not the case - services are not the only way. Most people with social care needs are not eligible for support - they support themselves. Many social care needs, such as isolation or social exclusion are not fixable with a service. So a system based on rationing and gate-keeping access to services is inherently flawed. Delays in access to support create a backlog of unmet need, leading to costly problems.

There are pockets of some real innovative work taking place which don't just focus on traditional services but these are fragmented and small scale. What we need is whole system redesign and the need for this has never been more pressing. But this transformation will remain a challenge as long as legal duties remain exclusively focused upon the need to provide crisis services to the whole population. Early intervention and citizen empowerment are seen as luxury spends in our current deficit obsessed system.

In this paper, we recommend a very different "front door" into the system which includes replacing current community care assessment processes with an assessment or impact model which more robustly assesses risk and triggers access to support planning at an early stage.

Julie Stansfield, CEO In Control

The paper can be read here.

Last Updated : 30 May 2012. Page Author: Laura Bimpson.