Bid To Improve Social Care For Adults

Devon County Council proposes to improve social care in the county by commissioning services for adults from voluntary, not-for-profit and private sector organisations.

As a result, the county says service users in Devon would get better value for money, greater choice, and more consistent services wherever they live, to help support their independence and well being.

The council already buys most of its social care from the private sector, but this would see the remaining ‘in-house’ provision – services that the council provides directly to people – commissioned from external organisations.

The council’s executive will meet on Tuesday, April 11, to decide whether they want to endorse this proposal. Senior managers believe that becoming a full commissioner of social services for adults in Devon is the best way forward to ensure that quality services are maintained and improved, in a future that will see much more reliance on social and health care as Devon’s elderly population grows faster than elsewhere in the country.

The proposal is seen as part of a larger aim to deliver more efficient and more effective social services to people in future. Devon’s age profile is changing and with it comes far more reliance on health and social services. By 2026 there will be a 73% increase in those over the age of 85 and a 60% increase in those over the age of 65. (Office of National Statistics).

The average cost of caring for someone aged over 85 leaps to twice the cost of caring for someone aged 75 to 85. Some 90% of older people receiving care from Devon County Council are aged over 75 – over half of whom are aged 85 and over. The number of people with complex care needs is also rising, with associated high cost of support.

At the same time the money available to pay for the needs of older, vulnerable and disabled people is reducing in real terms. This is a problem not just for Devon, but for social services authorities everywhere in England and Wales, says the county council.

The change for Devon County Council to become a commissioning organisation for adults’ social services is part of the Council’s planned Modernisation Programme, which is in its third year. But proposals to implement the project have been brought forward as Devon County Council struggles to bridge a £15 million gap in Government funding for Devon’s public services.

Proposals to commission more from external organisations would mean that more people will be supported with tailor-made services, allowing them to stay independent and well in their own homes. Surveys have shown that this is an important priority for people in Devon.