Personalisation lead: Councils must urge providers to innovate

Councils must encourage adult care providers to develop innovative services, rather than see providers as recipients of contracts, as part of a cultural shift to help implement personalisation.

That was the message from national director for social care transformation Jeff Jerome, who is charged with helping councils implement the three-year Putting People First programme.

In an interview with Community Care as the programme approaches its final year this April, Jerome said a shift was required in the way councils saw providers.

No longer should they be seen as recipients of council contracts but, using their own knowledge of what users want, as innovators and creators of services tailored to needs, he said.

Encourage innovation

The role of councils would be to encourage innovation and “quality assure” services.

Jerome, who works through the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services and Local Government Association, said: “That requires a cultural change and also active work regionally and sub-regionally.

“We are increasingly encouraging authorities and regions to set up the right sort of forums for dialogue. What we are keen for is for providers to say this is the sort of [service] we can offer.”

Last September, the Department of Health, Adass and the LGA produced a number of “milestones” for authorities to chart their progress on implementing personalisation, including a target of having 30% of users and carers on personal budgets by April 2011.

Jerome said a “handful of authorities” were creating cause for concern in terms of meeting this target and would need to “move very quickly” to achieve it.

He said questions remained over the resource implications of the government’s plan, in its green paper on care funding last year, to introduce a “universal offer” for all users. This would encompass access to reablement support for people leaving hospital, a standard, portable assessment of need, at least some personal care funding and information and advice.

Jerome said: “The issue that we need to understand remains what money will [be needed] to fund a collectivised ‘universal offer’ and that which will be available for individual allocation via personal budgets.”

Personalisation milestones

By April 2011, councils should have:

• 30% of users and carers on personal budgets.

• Evidence of preventive services delivering efficiencies.

• At least one local user-led body contributing to the development of personal budgets.

• Made public aware of the best sources of information and advice on care.

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