In the second article in the ViewPoints series; Martyn Cockram looks at Personalisation in Adult Social Care……
The Personalisation agenda is advancing but there appears to be inconsistency in how councils are meeting targets and a lack of clear understanding amongst the public as to what it all really means.
The idea that social care is provided in a way that facilitates more choice and greater control for those who receive support is one that is generally supported by the professionals but in practice it means a huge cultural shift.
The practicalities of implementation and education are complex and there is a danger that these have been underestimated which will hamper the smooth implementation of the new system.
The aim of Personalisation is for the social care users to have control over how money allocated to their care is spent, allowing them to hold their own budget and self direct where the money is spent. A key aspect is that the user can also have the option to carry out their own self assessment and assess their own support and care needs before deciding how to spend their budget to meet these needs.
Those councils that are delivering have strategies in place and are providing information and advice about the choices available and have engaged key partners to deliver innovative services. However, just six months ago a survey found that four out of ten councils had missed the government’s personalisation targets.
There is no agreed model for delivery and therefore different solutions are developing. A new market place of providers is being established that delivers resource or service directories to allow users to browse for the support that they need; but where is the regulation to monitor the standards and how are the vulnerable being protected?
Good partnerships will be essential and best practice solutions need to be shared as they develop.
It is thought that a new breed of ‘brokers’ will emerge, these may be established organisations such as Age Concern for example or new operations. The relationships between these brokers and social workers are not fully understood and social workers are feeling threatened that it could lead to job losses.
There are concerns as to how the roll-out will be affected by the era of austerity that we now find ourselves operating in and there is a danger that the public will see the changes as a move designed to save costs rather than a sea change in policy.
Improved training and a greater focus on education should help counteract this and support the introduction of what should be a fairer, smarter and more effective system of social and health care.
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