‘Councils should lose care managers’ role’

An independent sector leader has called for many social work posts to be stripped out of councils to help deliver the government’s vision of more personalised care.

English Community Care Association chief executive Martin Green told Community Care that councils should not employ care managers to commission services for individuals who were responsible for their own care. Instead, service users’ direct payments or individual budgets should be topped up so they could employ independent advisers to help them buy services.

Green said care managers were primarily responsible to their councils, rather than users, and tended only to use existing services rather than commission for people’s needs.

Under his vision, councils would retain responsibility for strategic commissioning in the social care market, assessing users and setting budgets for their care.

Last year’s adult green paper proposed that care brokers or navigators should help people buy their own care, but the idea has not been developed.

But British Association of Social Workers chair Ray Jones said councils would still require care managers to review people’s needs, which may duplicate the work of independent brokers. He also said that providers were not moving as far as they might in creating a flexible response to the needs of disabled and older people.

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