Local authorities can now apply to take part in the government’s named social worker pilot scheme for people with mental health issues or learning disabilities.
The Department of Health will fund up to six council areas to trial the ‘My social worker’ scheme as part of efforts to strengthen the rights of service users and their families.
The pilot will assign a named social worker to adults with learning disabilities, autism or mental health conditions. The social worker will be the main contact for service users and their families, regardless of the setting they are being supported in, and will be able to challenge decisions about their care.
The six councils will also be supported by an independent contractor “with a good understanding and expertise in the health and care sectors”, the Department of Health said. The contractor will be selected by the Department of Health as part of a procurement exercise.
The government committed to piloting the scheme as part of its response to the consultation on a learning disability green paper launched before last year’s general election. However, ministers sparked anger by failing to commit to legal reforms set out in the paper.
For more information and to register interest, local authorities should contact Debbie Goulding from the DH learning disability policy team by Monday 18 July.