Six councils will give people with learning disabilities and their families a named social worker to help challenge decisions about their care, under a government scheme.
The Department of Health is investing £460,000 for the local authorities to trial the move for six months. The government has given each council the flexibility to design the specifics of the role but wants the named social worker to act as the primary point of contact for families and advocate for them.
The councils signed up to the scheme are: Calderdale, Camden, Hertfordshire, Liverpool, Nottingham and Sheffield. The authorities will be supported by the Innovation Unit and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (Scie).
Lyn Romeo, the chief social worker for adults, said the pilot scheme offered a chance to show the impact of good social work practice.
“I am delighted that the department has supported this initiative as I believe that social workers are well placed to work collaboratively across the health and social care system to ensure the person’s needs are always at the centre of decision making,” she said.
The DH hopes the named social worker pilot scheme will help strengthen community support for people with a learning disability and/or autism, and drive a “substantial reduction” in the number of inpatient admissions.
The move was first proposed in the learning disability green paper produced by the coalition government in March 2015. The majority of the green paper options, including proposals to strengthen legal rights for families, were not taken up by the Conservative government after the general election.