Social workers have been given longer to assess service users at risk of cuts in West Sussex to ensure their needs are thoroughly reviewed.
The council, which increased its eligibility threshold from ‘moderate’ to ‘substantial’ on 1 April, has extended the process of reassessment by six months and will also bring in an external agency to help with the process, at a cost of £137,000. The reviews will now conclude in March 2012.
“We are not going to rush the process and would rather extend the timetable to ensure the reassessments are carried out in a proper and professional way,” said a council spokesperson.
“Indeed, this shows our social workers are thoroughly carrying out each reassessment and explaining the process fully to those being assessed.”
About 4,500 people who currently have at least one moderate needs are being reassessed. Most of them also have substantial or critical needs, meaning they will retain access to at least some support.
The external agency used will be Skylakes, a social work consultancy that provides councils with support on child protection and adults’ services.
The council spokesperson added: “We would like to assure residents that all workers from the agency will be fully trained to assist with the reassessment process. The additional agency staff will be working to the direction of our managers to ensure we maintain the high quality of the way the process has been handled to date.”
The council is being challenged on its cuts to adult social care by a campaign group, Don’t Cut Us Out.
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