Successful scheme planned for Adult Social Care

A successful scheme, which has seen children in care getting better help from independent social workers contracted to local authorities, will be extended to adult social care, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced today.

In a speech to the National Adult and Children’s Services (NCAS) conference in Manchester, Mr Lansley set out plans to pilot Social Work Practices for adult social care. He announced funding for re-ablement services in 2011/12, and launched plans for trailblazer sites for Health and Well-being boards.

Social Work Practices are organisations that are led by social workers but independent of the local authority. The new pilots will provide the social work services for a specified group of adults. They discharge the statutory duties and responsibilities of the local authority in relation to these adults.

The programme will enable social care workers to:

    * Spend more time with the individuals in their care with the bureaucratic burden on individual social workers reduced
    * Take decisions much closer to their clients, resulting in a more responsive service

    * Feel empowered with more control over the day-to-day management of the practice
    * Make use of the increased financial flexibility to deliver better outcomes by stepping back and thinking creatively about resource use
    * Enjoy their jobs more – staff satisfaction levels for the children’s pilot have been high as staff feel empowered with more control over the day-to-day management of the Practice. They feel they are very much part of a decision-making team.

Following the successful pilot in children’s services, councils will now be invited to apply to pilot Social Work Practices for adults. Subject to Parliamentary approval, the pilots will begin next summer.

Mr Lansley said: “Putting decision making and power in the hands of social workers will mean better, more personal care for individuals. Social workers – the people who really know their clients – will have flexibility to create services around their clients. 

“These pilots will explore how the government can encourage social workers to develop fully independent groups contracted to local authorities. The project will work across health and social care to secure better health and well-being for the individuals using the service.

“The Social Work Practices programme supports the Government’s wider agenda of building the ‘Big Society’. We want to put the user at the heart of the service delivered and be more responsive, bringing decision making much closer to them.”

The Health Secretary also gave more details regarding funding and more help for the NHS to put in place post hospital care, or re-ablement services.

The NHS will be given an extra £150 million in 2011/12 for re-ablement services and £300 million a year from 2012/13 – this is part of the additional money given to social care through the Department of Health in the Spending Review. And a toolkit has been launched that will help councils to work with the NHS on re-ablement.

Mr Lansley said: “Last month, I announced £70 million for re-ablement. Next year, this will rise to £150 million. And after that, £300 million each year earmarked for re-ablement until 2015.”

He also said that councils, the NHS, representatives of patients and the public and everybody involved in commissioning services that affect people’s health, will be brought together to form Health and Well-being Boards to ensure individuals get a seamless service from the NHS and social care.