Radical food for thought
Thursday 24th January 2013

Today's proposal from the Shadow Minister for Health Andy Burnham, that the new Health and Wellbeing Boards should be given a greater role in determining mixtures of health and care services locally has been welcomed by directors of adult social services, "as is his determination to ensure that incentives within the system all pull together towards the desired outcomes."

According to ADASS President Sarah Pickup "Andy Burnham has set out a fairly good analysis of some of the key challenges we face in trying to achieve the best possible outcomes for people, and making the best use of all resources locally to promote health and wellbeing.

"In terms of the objectives he is pursuing what he has outlined seems to be very much aligned with current government thinking. The differences lie in his proposals concerning what needs to be done to deliver these objectives," she said.

Mrs Pickup warned, though, that however efficient and beneficial it might be to bring together responsibility for delivery of all health and social care "there will have to be detailed discussions about the delivery of care and whether acute trusts are the right place to locate responsibility for shaping and delivering care for individuals. Especially considering that care in the future must be focused on supporting independence, preventing higher level needs and intervening early when problems arise."

ADASS believe that in setting out proposals for whole-person care and integrated commissioning and delivery, the Labour Party review will need to consider not only the different ways in which health and social care are funded, but the great differences in starting position between health and social care services in relation to their use of independent and voluntary sector providers.

"Taken at face value Andy Burnham's statement implies, either that hospital trusts deliver social care themselves as part of their preferred provider role, or that they commission social care from the independent sector, neither of which are areas of expertise for NHS provider trusts," Mrs Pickup said.

"There is little reference, or apparent understanding, of the predominance of the independent sector private and voluntary - in the provision of social care."

Mrs Pickup  committed ADASS to working closely with the review in drawing attention to some of these difficulties and clarifying other, wider points. "These are radical proposals and the long period of consultation and review is welcome," she said.


For further information contact:
Sarah Pickup, ADASS President, 01992 556300
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755

Editorial Notes

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) represents directors and senior managers of adult social services departments in English local authorities. Directors (DASSs) have statutory responsibilities for the social care of older people, adults with disabilities and adults with mental health needs.

In many authorities ADASS members will also share a number of responsibilities for the provision and/or commissioning of housing, leisure, libraries, culture, and community safety on behalf of their councils. Nearly a third of DASSs are also the statutory director of childrens services for their authority.

A personal budget is a clear, upfront amount of funding from adult social care which individuals can spend on the services and support they need to help them live more independently. It can be used to buy services from both the council and other providers, mixing and matching whats available from different organisations.

Anyone aged 18 or over who is eligible for social care support can have a personal budget - but it is down to individuals whether they manage their budget themselves or whether someone else does this on their behalf.

The Department of Health survey of adult social care 2010/2011 showed that:

* 62% of service users who responded said that they were extremely or very satisfied with the care and support services they receive.

*28% said they were quite satisfied, 7% said they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied and the remaining 3% said they were dissatisfied.

*26% reported their quality of life was so good, it could not be better or very good.

* 31% reported it was good, and

*33% reported it was alright.

* 10% reported their quality of life was either bad, very bad or so bad it could not be worse

See full results here.