Re: Care Act .... Problems ???
Posted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 9:44 am
Very interesting Chris. Thanks for that. Maybe I'll ring DoH later, before I visit the solicitor on Friday. However, first I have to put some Polyfilla around some windows!
The principles of personalisation are of course now enshrined in the Care Act 2014, which places a duty on councils to ensure anyone whose needs they must or chose to meet receives a personal budget. The act itself defines in administrative terms – as the cost to the local authority of meeting the person’s needs – rather than as an instrument of personalisation.
But this objective is made clear by the statutory guidance, which states that individuals must be given clear information about the money that has been allocated to meet their needs, be able to choose from a range of options for managing their budget, and have a choice over how they are supported, and by whom.
John Waters, research lead at disability organisation In Control, says the act is a welcome development, but councils are still falling short on delivering personalised care.
“We have a picture here where the statute is correct, it’s saying how the relationship should look and feel, the power should rest with disabled people with the support of their social workers, and the role of the local authority should be an enabling one.
“Where we’re falling down it appears is with delivery and the worrying element of that is the inability of councils to demonstrate whether or not they are achieving the degree of choice and control that’s being expected of them – and there’s no easy way of measuring that.”
Waters points to recent research carried out by In Control, which found “a number of typical types of restraint” were happening in relation to how people are supported.
“The places where people can be supported, the ways in which they’re supported, who supports them, and the amount of money available for a particular period of care are all being constrained. This runs counter to the Care Act guidance, which is a concern.”
‘Reducing choice and control’
He adds that “all too often” councils are failing to be transparent about what personal budgets should look like, but acknowledges this is largely due to financial pressures.
“It’s no surprise given the pressure local authorities are under with the cuts. There’s huge unprecedented cuts being raged on them in a way that is uncalled for, unwarranted, and that certainly leads to the frustration of the good developments we’ve seen.
“You’ll see councils reducing commissioned providers in vague attempts to make savings, which will deny individual choice – people can sort their own solutions out better then we can – but local authorities are being forced into acting in ways that ‘reduce’ control.”
These issues need to be addressed and Waters believes the answer lies in frontline practice. He calls on social workers to be honest with individuals about how systems are working, how resources are being allocated and the extent of choice and control available.
“That’s a fundamental role social workers can play – be transparent about what the rules are, but also internally urge their own authorities to be transparent with local people.
“It’s no good having guarantees and rights in law, if you don’t know what those rights are. "