Can help from family members and the community keep the system
alive? This is one of the questions being asked in light of recent
changes adult social care and the need to find a new way of
approaching provision of services with budgets being cut across the
In a recent round table of senior social care figures brought
together by The Guardian and CapacityGRID - a platform enabling
councils to share resources and knowledge - the contribution of
families and communities to helping provide aspects of social care
was just one of the ways it was felt adult social services could
continue to provide the level of service needed despite the problem
of reducing budgets.
The reality of adult social services is that, as reported by The
Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, in the three
years to March 2014, £2.68bn - or about a fifth of the total
funding budget - will have been cut from adult social care. This is
against a backdrop of a government - and public - expectation that
care becomes increasingly personalised with better co-ordination
and integration between services such as between those delivered by
local government and the NHS.
In addition there is pressure on adult social services to
support those with increasingly complex needs such as dementia to
remain in their own home as long as possible and support them to
have choice in their care plan through personal budgets and direct
Many cuts so far have revolved around councils changing
eligibility criteria "in increasingly crafty ways" to restrict care
to the most needy. But simply leaving more and more people with
unmet needs will put pressure on services such as A&E and leave
people struggling to cope.
The contributors agreed that social care needs to replace the
existing approach - whereby needs assessments are carried out and
then care is allocated according to eligibility - with one in which
people are supported to live as independently as possible for as
long as possible.
The panel believed this was a debate that everyone - politicians
and the public - needed to be involved in, because of the
wide-reaching nature of the topic and the wide impact change will
have on the community.
The panel discussed a change in focus from services doing the
majority of work to a new way of working where social care staff
would focus on prevention and reablement as well as asking what
people could do for themselves, or what their family and community
could do - not just rely on adult social services to continue to
provide most of the support.
Social care departments are finding that this approach can
rapidly save them "thousands, maybe even millions", while giving
clients greater independence.
The issues this raises however are how to fund the initial
investment required and how to ensure that services change their
culture to support a prevention and reablement approach where each
person is viewed individually, with their individual circumstances
being understood in order to find solutions that work for them.
This also requires a whole person/whole family and more of a
'one-stop shop' approach to ensure that services are not viewed in
isolation but as a part of a bigger picture - a similar approach to
that being undertaken in Barnsley as part of the
Strong Families, Strong Barnsley project.
This approach does however require strong integrated networks
and services and the ability for families and communities to
understand how they can play an active part.
In Control's Partners in Policymaking (PiP) programmes are on
solution to supporting families and the wider community to become
involved in the provision of adult social care. PiP programmes help
people such as disabled adults, parents and carers of disabled
children, professionals and other service providers working in
education, health and leisure to learn the tools needed to help
them be an active participant - gaining an understanding of how the
health and social care system works, learning to organise meetings
and present questions without getting frustrated and be empowered
to find solutions to improve people's lives. All our PiP programmes
aim to give participants the confidence to work in partnership to
enable them or their loved ones to have choice and control over
To read more about the Guardian and CapacityGrid panel
For more information about In Control's Partners in Policymaking
programmes visit: /what-we-do/partners-in-policymaking.aspx