CC Live: Directors ‘using wider powers to solve eligibility crisis’

Directors of adult social services are increasingly using their extended powers over services such as leisure and culture to provide for people ineligible for care, a top Department of Health official said today.

Glen Mason, the DH’s director of social care leadership and performance, told Community Care Live there was a “growing body of evidence” that directors were using the “power of the role to push forward a wellbeing agenda”.

In the last few years, many adult care directors have assumed responsibility for other community services, including housing and adult learning.

Mason, who was until last year the adult director at Wolverhampton Council, said socially excluded people who did not meet authorities’ eligibility criteria were getting access to activities such as exercise and cultural services.

He told delegates the move showed a “creative use of resources” in the light of tightened eligibility for adult care. He also cited an example at Manchester Council where social workers were being deployed to advise people not eligible for care.

Mason also outlined the challenges of the personalisation agenda, and said the green paper on adult care funding, due next year, “would answer questions” about how it would be financed.

“The current system is not affordable. We need to have a new settlement,” he admitted.

He also indicated that personalisation could apply to children’s services and said the DH was committed to “unified” social work across children’s and adults’ services. Concerns have been raised that the DH and the Department for Children, Schools and Families, which is responsible for children’s social care, have taken divergent paths on social work training over the past year.

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