Saving money or seeking outcomes?

A guest blog from Simon Taylor (simon@sharedlivesplus.org.uk), who supports our micro-enterprise members:

Delegating decisions in care and support

Last week Think Local Act Personal launched its report on making the best use of the available resources when developing adult social care. It highlights options which could save councils money when other traditional costs saving methods are exhausted. This debate underlines the delicate balance councils must manage. Many unfortunately use remote senior managers or panels to maintain control over the money. All too few delegate decisions to front line workers to try and avoid costly red tape. The report identifies how councils can evidence the benefits of options like delegation to encourage them to use such approaches. www.thinklocalactpersonal.org.uk/Latest/Resource/?cid=9444

My initial reaction was astonishment that some local authorities struggle to release control to the professionals in their employment and are unable to understand the cost implications of their approaches.  The excellent report and toolkit developed by Think Local Act Personal working with the Towards Excellence in Adult Social Care Programme is a start for councils to consider and implement change.  

However, we need not only to hand power to front line workers, but also to people who use services so that they can be at the heart of decision making.

We need also to look beyond cost reductions. Delegation of decision making has shown that it also produces better outcomes for people. The Personal Budgets Outcome Evaluation Tool (POET) survey revealed that delegation can increase the outcomes for most people who use care and support services. “Most personal budget holders reported personal budgets having a positive impact on their lives such as being supported with dignity and respect (76% reporting a positive impact); people staying as independent as they want to be (75%); people being in control of their support (72%)”. www.thinklocalactpersonal.org.uk/_library/Resources/Personalisation/Personalisation_advice/2011/POET_surveys_June_2011_-_EMBARGOED.pdf

Here’s an example of what happens when citizens are able to take the lead:

Aebal Leisure helps adults with learning disabilities to access mainstream leisure services and other opportunities, throuugh focusing on the interests, attitudes and abilities of each person. They really getting to know the individual and Aebal Leisure gets involved as much or as little as necessary. Jason Bradley who runs the enterprise found that often the support being offered lacked diversity and individuals were either stuck indoors or going out in large groups for activities that may not be of interest to them.

There seemed to be no support available which enabled individuals to access the community based on their choices and with like-minded people. Speaking with Local Authorities and working with the Community Catalysts coordinator who, embedded in the authority, focuses on helping micro-enterprise services, Jason was able to develop his ideas so that people can spend time in their community doing activities they enjoy and living the life they really want. You can find out more here: www.aebal-leisure.com/

Fortunate to be in a local authority area investing in a Community Catalysts coordinator, Aebal is reliant on the delegation of money to individuals to buy the services they provide. This makes them very targeted and cost-effective Aebal Leisure is also a member of Shared Lives Plus, taking advantage of our member benefits such as the preferential insurance rates, legal advice and business development support. www.communitycatalysts.co.uk/www.sharedlivesplus.org.uk/micro-enterprise-shared-lives-plus

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