Local government "at the heart of the health and wellbeing agenda"
Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
Date: Thursday 20th January 2011
Embargo: Immediate

Adult Social Services Directors have welcomed proposed extra responsibilities local authorities will have in relation to the new NHS emerging from the Health and Social Care Bill published this week. In particular they have welcomed the decision to put the new Health and Wellbeing Boards onto a statutory basis.

According to ADASS President Richard Jones, this is something we, along with other organisations, have pressed the government very firmly on, and we are pleased to see they understood how important it was for the new Boards to have statutory muscle.

The Bill provides a `real opportunity to weld public health, social care and health commissioning issues more closely together, driven by a shared set of outcomes and an understanding of the needs of communities.

He said: Social care has  much to offer in terms of our experience of personalisation and helping citizens take control of their care and support to emerging GP consortia who need to commission very different responses particularly for people with long term conditions such as mental health, disabilities, carers and people with dementia. Councils have much to offer, too, around commissioning support.

We have an important, shared agenda with GP consortia as well, to oversee a shift in resources from acute and institutional settings to care closer to home. In the context of reducing resources for local government and significant efficiencies required in the  NHS the time is ripe to do something very different as commissioners  in order to manage demand and improve outcomes for people.

This will be the role of local health and wellbeing Boards holding the ring around commissioning that makes a difference to people's lives and shifts spending towards prevention, early intervention, and keeping people well and connected to their communities.

He also looked forward  to operating in the context of an increased role for councils in both public health and health improvement and in the coordination and integration of This is a great opportunity for us to shape a different set of responses to people and communities. The power to agree joint health and wellbeing strategies  puts local government at the heart of the agenda around health and well-being for their local citizens, he said.

For further information contact:
Richard Jones, ADASS President, 01772 534390
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.