Social workers in adults’ services: what happened in the last case you took to a funding panel?

Community Care is inviting adults’ social workers to tell us about the experience and outcome of the last case they presented to a funding panel

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Photo: Olivier Le Moal/Fotolia

Community Care is continuing to look at the use of funding panels in adults’ social services, and how panels are assessing cases at meetings, including the allocation of funding.

Findings from our survey of more than 400 social workers in our report published earlier this year show respondents felt panels were being used to dismiss their professional judgment and prioritise cutting costs over the needs of vulnerable adults.

A separate Freedom of Information request to England’s local authorities also suggested that funding panels are being used routinely to make decisions about care for vulnerable adults. One social worker told Community Care that the process of presenting to panel felt like a “battle”, where “the start point appears to be how can we refuse or reduce this package”.

However some respondents were positive about the experience, with one stating that they “enjoyed the opportunity to provide a directly detailed account of information gathered, identified needs, suggested support plan and rationale”.

Voices have spoken out against the potential use of funding panels by local authorities to assess all cases of adult social care packages. At Community Care Live Manchester in April this year, Yogi Amin, partner in public law at Irwin Mitchell, told delegates that this practice was not lawful in accordance with the Care Act 2014 statutory guidance. The previous year, Cerebra law professor at Leeds University, Luke Clements said at a Legal Action Group that funding panels were not being used in accordance with the statutory guidance, and their usage within councils was increasing.

Tell us about the last case you took to a funding panel

Community Care now wants to better understand from social workers how councils are assessing cases at panel meetings, including the allocation of funding, and the experience of attending these meetings, to identify both good and poor practice.

Our short survey asks social workers to tell us about the most recent case they submitted or presented to panel.

We want to know the outcome, how you felt the panel assessed the case and what considerations were taken. We also want you to tell us your experience of presenting to panel and how you felt it responded to your assessment of the case and the recommendations you made.

The survey will take up to 10 minutes to complete and all responses will remain anonymous. Full findings will be published on Community Care in a forthcoming special report.

Take the survey here

5 Responses to Social workers in adults’ services: what happened in the last case you took to a funding panel?

  1. James Akorley August 2, 2018 at 10:29 am #

    Request for funding an specialist placement costing £450 per week was rejected as too costly by panel members earning £90,000 a year. No irony or guilt but a lecture on why I need to be aware of spending public money responsibly

  2. F CLIFFE August 4, 2018 at 10:27 am #

    Funding panels another obstacle to a system not fit for purpose.

  3. Nick Johnson August 7, 2018 at 9:20 am #

    As a provider, I have been shocked by the change between the submitted application based on assessed needs and the outcome settled on by the panel, which has always been about money. We need to give the accountants their job back and to social workers, respect for their independent professional judgement.

  4. John August 7, 2018 at 11:20 am #

    I agree with what has been written, although the financial challenges facing LA’s is gigantic and this is the real reason services are not being agreed. LA’s have to make these decisions otherwise they could end up like Northamptonshire who have very little choice, with the possibility of no services being provided. Budgets and spread sheets are how ASC is provided, not sure what the purpose is of having Social Workers completing needs assessments as they are not the decision makers.

  5. IJ August 7, 2018 at 9:38 pm #

    James- Specialist placement costing £450 a week? That is very interesting, in my (North of England) authority, that is less than the basic residential rate for elderly people. My authority has actually reduced use of panels in recent years and we now only have panel where joint health/ social care funding is being considered. Everything else is agreed by individual managers. We still have to produce a lot of evidence for everything we request though.