Dementia report: ADASS responds Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Date: Tuesday 25th January 2011 Embargo: Immediate
A report published today by the Alzheimers Society has been welcomed by directors of adult social services, bringing to the fore as it does the difficulties faced by many thousands of people with dementia, many self-funders and others funded by local authorities, who are receiving for whatever reason unsatisfactory care services.
According to ADASS President Richard Jones, any report that provides adult social care (ASC) departments with information on how to improve services for people with dementia is to be valued..

However, he went on to emphasise that the National Dementia Strategy has only two years of a five-year plan, leaving it three years still to run. We acknowledge that there is bound to be room for further service improvements, he said.

But we shouldnt forget those aspects of the report which show us that some people are very positive about their care and carers, and that large measures of good practice exist. These are aspects somewhat neglected by the Societys press release.

He also stressed the support directors receive in their pursuit of good practice through the Social Care Institute of Excellence dementia gateway and the Department of Healths National Compendium.

Mr Jones went on: Overall the AS report helps us develop our understanding of the ways in which we are getting closer to our goal of a universally successful and supportive service. It will sit well alongside other research - such as that being carried out by the Personal Social Services Research Unit - in helping us keep track on our performance over the remaining four years of the strategy.

Our commissioning strategies are aimed at encouraging, with partners, a vibrant and plural market committed to delivering quality services. We agree, too, that the workforce needs more skill development in dementia care and support the DH work on this. In the medium term, the new NHS and Social Care Bill, published earlier this week, which set up health and wellbeing boards, will support agencies working together to implement the national dementia strategy.

He drew attention to a number of other issues raised by ADASS which include:

* The need for more research on what kinds of support really make a critical difference, and lead to better outcomes for people,

* Local Authority commissioners have particular responsibilities for getting this right - both when purchasing care and support for someone and for developing the choice of services available in the community. But this needs a whole sector approach: people with dementia; their carers; the Alzheimers Society.

Local authorities and the independent sector need to work together to ensure the appropriate range of services exist. The recently published sector agreement to work together Think Local; Act Personal will be a key opportunity to develop dementia services.

* Local authorities are not the only commissioners of care. A large proportion of the population are self funders and commission their own care. While ever increasing number of people will have their own personal budgets from local authorities and will become individual commissioners.

The Society, councils and independent sector providers all have an important role in working with people with dementia and their carers to ensure that there is an appropriate range of services for people to buy. 

* Personalising social care, offering more choice, flexibility and control is essential for people with dementia and their carers. As we develop personal budgets and direct payments, and directly managed, but personalised services, we are growing our experience and the confidence of the workforce to work in this way.

* The need to develop a workforce with more skill development in dementia care. We very much support DH initiatives in this area.

Mr Jones concluded: In the medium term, the new NHS and Social Care Bill setting up health and wellbeing boards, will support agencies working together to implement the national dementia strategy. Meanwhile, the recently announced new funding for social care via NHS budgets should be used to support people being discharged from hospital, providing them with greater access to reablement.

We should see these investment plans being developed next year, being used to support people with dementia and their carers.

For further information contact:
Richard Jones, President, ADASS, 01772 534390
Simon Williams, ADASS National Lead on Dementia, 020 8545 3711
Jenny Owen, ADASS Immediate Past President, and National Champion for Dementia, 01245 434806
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755

Notes

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) represents directors of adult social services in local authorities in England. DASSs have statutory responsibilities for the social care of older people and adults with disabilities, while over 50 per cent also run social housing departments. ADASS members might also share a number of responsibilities for the provision and/or commissioning of housing, leisure, library, culture and arts services within their councils.

`Personalisation' is a term used to describe a number of ways in which vulnerable adults and their carers can receive a mixture of local authority and government money in order to pay directly for the care services they need without direct social services involvement.

They will be helped in making an assessment of their needs and finances by social workers who will also involve and consider the needs and availability of carers. Any contractual agreement is therefore between the individual and the care worker or operator.

The government has urged local authorities to prioritise the roll-out of individual budgets. A National Director for Social Care Transformation was appointed in September 2008 to contribute to the development of personalised services.