Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Cut Out the Middle Man: Do we need Local Councils in Social Care?


So there isn’t a pot of gold for social care (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17740832)

So we need to find new ways of making certain that the money that is available goes directly to those who need care services.

I am not an economist and I do not have the figures to hand but it seems to me that  the best way forward  is to take a radical look at the social care system and make wholesale changes that increase the funds at the front line.

We all know the way the current system works, money from central government filtered through Local Authorities to front line care provision.

So how about cutting out the middle man?

There are 152 Councils with Social Services Responsibilities (CSSRs) and, therefore, 152 directors of Adult Social Services (or whichever name they currently go by!), similarly there are 152 different administration systems that have to be paid for and 152 systems of line management.

It is said that this system creates a postcode lottery it which where you live can be important in the level of care you receive.

What if we eliminate that?

Have just one Director of Adult Social Services (there is one already in situ at the Department of Health), have one administration and assessment system that provides the same level of care across England and a system that allows more money to be directed at front line services.

Such a system will, of course, still have localism at its heart. Obviously social work remains in local offices and local services will meet the needs of local people but does such a thing really need director level involvement local level and does localism need variation when it comes to who is entitled to what service?

This would not necessarily mean that Local Authorities have no impact on local social care services. The Health & Well-Being boards could exist as a monitor to services and are still important in providing an oversight to ensure integration between services.

I have admitted I don’t have the figures for what the savings actually would be but I think it is an exercise that needs to be undertaken. Money is tight and we need what money is available to provide support and care for the people who need it and if that means 152 Directors of Adult Social Services losing their jobs isn’t that worth it in the long run?