Monthly bulletin

Here’s the latest bulletin from Shared Lives Plus:

NAAPS UK re-launches as Shared Lives Plus

For over 20 years NAAPS has been the UK body for Shared Lives (originally known as Adult Placement) and latterly for Homeshare and very small ‘micro-enterprises’ in social care. At a reception on the eve of our sold-out UK conference in Cardiff, we re-launched as Shared Lives Plus.

We are looking forward to the next era of our work and are currently surveying our members to identify their achievements and the difference Shared Lives makes to those who use it.  The survey can be filled in on-line here.

The conference was co-chaired by Alex Tanner, who spoke eloquently about his experience of using Shared Lives, and by Simon Burch, Director of Social Services for Monmouthshire. Keynote speakers were Welsh Government Deputy Minister Gwenda Thomas and Dame Philippa Russell, Chair of the Standing Commission on Carers, who said, “I believe Shared Lives will be the key social care development of the next decade.”

A map for micro-enterprises

Shared Lives Plus has launched a ‘map’ setting out the results of intensive work carried out by Shared Lives Plus, Community Catalysts, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department of Health. Following a commitment in the government’s Growth Review, officials have worked with their counterparts in a number of government departments and arms-length bodies to tackle some key red tape issues affecting the smallest and most creative social care enterprises.

The map outlines significant reductions in red tape, including new guidance which makes clear that social care workers who use their own cars as part of their support to disabled and older people should be freed from the unnecessary and costly process of being licensed as minicabs.

The map also sets out the aspiration to ensure that the highest level Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks should in future become available to thousands of self-employed care workers and also provides new clarity on tax, employment law and registration issues for people who take cash Direct Payments in lieu of social care services.  You can view the map here.

Shared Lives Plus CEO co-leads on White Paper engagement exercise

The Government has launched “Caring for our future: shared ambitions for care and support” – an engagement with people who use services, carers, councils and providers about the priorities for improving care and support. It will bring together the recommendations of the Law Commission and the Dilnot Commission on social care funding and build on the government’s Vision for Adult Social Care. The engagement exercise will run until 2 December and the results from the discussions will inform a Government White Paper followed by a new single, unified law for social care.
There are six strands to the engagement, each co-led by someone from the sector, with the prevention strand led by Shared Lives Plus CEO Alex. See Alex’s blog setting out some of the questions: https://alexfoxblog.wordpress.com and a think piece for the Royal Society of Arts: http://comment.rsablogs.org.uk/2011/10/03/prevention-social-care/. To contribute to the consultation, see: www.caringforourfuture.dh.gov.uk

Shared Lives carer break

70 Shared Lives carers and service users enjoyed our annual Shared Lives carer break and conference. The Director of Lancashire Adult Services and immediate past-President of ADASS, Richard Jones, spoke about the value of Shared Lives and its important place in the future of social care: “There’s a notion around that we can do more for less, but trying to do more and more of the same for less and less money only gets you so far. We are learning three things. Firstly, that we must move away from the idea that all we need to do is offer a service. People don’t want services, they want to live a life, to be active citizens, to have a job or education, to give something back. Secondly, most social care is provided by families and communities, not the state, so it’s crucial that services work with those networks. Thirdly, that agencies, particularly health and social care but also many others, need to work together much, much better.”
Richard believes that Shared Lives is different and told the Shared Lives carers. “You are helping people to achieve very different outcomes to the traditional; helping people become active citizens. Shared Lives outperforms a whole range of other services on quality, outcomes and value because Shared Lives carers have a different relationship. I recently met ‘M’. He didn’t know what a family was until he came into Shared Lives. He’d been institutionalised but is now a godfather, he’s been to weddings. You can’t put a cash value on that, but you can measure the savings to services.”
In Lancashire, Shared Lives costs the council £197 per week, compared to average personal budgets of £320 – £500 for supported living arrangements, residential care costs averaging £750 and nursing and specialist services costing £1000+. Lancashire is investing £750,000 in Shared Lives.

There is an alternative

The Association for Supported Living (www.a-s-l.org.uk) has published “There Is An Alternative”, a report demonstrating that community-based support for people with learning disabilities is more effective, safer and cheaper than institutional care. The report calls for the government to act to put an end to institutional services. The report includes ten case studies of radically improved outcomes at much reduced cost, including this one:
Following a breakdown in Alan’s family home and then in a residential placement, his behaviour deteriorated and he began to drink heavily, despite the efforts of a number of expensive out-of- area placements.  Alan’s care manager approached a local Shared Lives scheme to see if they could arrange a new service for him.
Some health professionals felt that Alan’s support needs could not be met in a family home but potential Shared Lives carers were identified and the matching process commenced. This involved a number of social get-togethers leading to overnight and weekend stays, then a week-long stay, until both Alan and the Shared Lives carers felt the match could work. Alan has now been supported by his Shared Lives carers for six months. Incidents have reduced and he says he is very happy and wants to stay with his carers for the rest of his life.
He has begun accessing community education classes and leisure centres and is also contemplating a work experience placement. The cost to the local authority of Alan’s final residential placement was £57,200 a year, compared with the cost of the Shared Lives placement of £14,223 pa.

Investment in Shared Lives Shropshire

Shropshire is planning to expand its Shared Lives scheme to include mental health, Older People / Physical Disability (OPPD), Home from Hospital and day support.  The scheme hopes to recruit 46 new carers.

Shared Lives Plus in the news

  • A Shared Lives scheme manager has written a diary of their week for the regular Community Care magazine slot. Read it here.
  • Alex has been shortlisted for the Rising Manager of the Year award by Charity Times: http://www.charitytimes.com/awards2011/pages/categories.htm.
  • The National Audit Office has released a report, “Oversight of user choice and provider competition in care markets”, urginggovernment to ensure that oversight of the social care market is robust, that people have access to the information and support that they need and that it has arrangements in place in the event of large providers getting into financial difficulty. It found that some people are using their personal budgets in innovative ways and most report improved wellbeing but help to plan care is very patchy. The work of Shared Lives Plus and its members is cited as an example of good practice.

“Direct payments for everyone?” events

Shared Lives Plus and Community Catalysts, HMRC, Skills for Care, the Think Local Act Personal Partnership, the National Centre for Independent Living and ADASS are running a series of events that promote and explore the use of direct payments for the purchase of care, addressing common misconceptions and barriers.  The events are:
Eastern England:        22nd November
West Midlands:           24th  January
London:                       24th November
North East:                  15th  February
South West:                1st  December
East Midlands: to be confirmed
South East:                 8th  December
Yorkshire & Humber:  to be confirmed
North West:                 17th  January
Contact Simon@naaps.org.uk

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