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Peer Brokerage Training - First Run

Most people who use health or social care services like to know that the people who are heping them are experts. But there's more than one type of expert. In many cases, people who have used services themselves (or cared for someone else who does) have a wealth of experience and expertise than they can draw upon to help others facing similar difficulties. When the government announced plans for 'Self Directed Support', they knew some people would need help to plan their own care. The role of 'independent broker' or 'support broker' was invented. So far, most people trained as brokers have had previous experience through working in health or care services. We are offering free training to people who have used them.


What is a Peer Broker?


Since 2008, adults who are entitled to social care services have been able to apply for a ‘Personal Budget’ to buy the support they want. The process of developing a ‘support plan’ can be complicated - it involves knowing what supports are available and how much they cost, and working with people to put the supports they want into a plan that meets their needs. To help people through the maze, Oxfordshire County Council will pay for free, independent help from an ‘independent broker’. People who have experienced illness or disability themselves know how the system works. They have personal experiences of using some of the supports that may be available. And most importantly, they know the importance of letting people make choices for themselves. For these reasons, many people believe that people who have used services themselves make excellent independent brokers. These are ‘peer brokers’.


Peer Broker Training

People who want to work as peer brokers will train as part of a group. Instead of the usual intensive 3 day course offered by other organisations, the group will meet 10 times over an 11 week period in the autumn of 2010. Training will take place at the Charity Centre Oxford,  Community Glue's wheelchair accessible premises on Oxford's Cowley Road.


We believe it’s important for brokers to work at their own pace, and that they get the support they need at each stage of the process. For people who do not feel ready to begin working as an independent broker on completion of the course, there are other types of work that they can do while they build their confidence and ability.


The course has been based on the training requirements published by Skills for Care, the training standards body for social care services. We have tried to embed the concepts of autonomy and empowerment in the training methods as well as the content, and the success of the programme will be dependent the contributions of trainees.


Draft Timetable Autumn 2011 (Subjet To Conformation)


All courses will take place between 2 and 4 pm on Thursday afternoons.

  • 1st Sept – Mike Woodin Room - Planning and Meetings With Trainees
  • 8th Sept – Guy Hughes Room - Planning & Meetings With Trainees
  • 15th Sept – Mike Woodin Room - Session 1: Introductions and Learning Styles
  • 22nd Sept – Mike Woodin Room - Session 2: Care Planning, Needs & Supports
  • 29th Sept – Mike Woodin Room - Session 3: Interpersonal Skills for Brokers
  • 6th Oct – Mike Woodin Room - Session 4: Needs, Supports and Plans
  • 13th Oct – Guy Hughes Room - Session 5: Safety

20th Oct – Half Way Break

  • 27th Oct – Mike Woodin Room - Session 6: FACS and Charging In Detail
  • 3rd Nov – Mike Woodin Room - Session 7: Negotiation, Advocacy and Conflict Management
  • 10th Nov – Mike Woodin Room - Session 8: Embracing Difference
  • 17th Nov – Mike Woodin Room - Session 9: Research and Information
  • 24th Nov – Mike Woodin Room - Session 10: Specialist Support & Communication


Working as a Peer Broker ...

There are a number of ways people can work as a peer broker. Community Glue has arranged several fully supported options.

... as part of a panel (voluntary)

After training, brokers may continue to meet as an advisory panel facilitated by Community Glue. People can come to the panel do discuss their own needs, or the panel will make suggestions about support plans based on paperwork. The panel won’t actually help to draw up the support plan. Individual panel members will not be paid, but the panel will charge brokers or individuals a small sum to cover costs which can be redeemed from the County Council.


... as a broker support worker (voluntary)


Age UK Oxfordshire already have a big team of experienced independent brokers. People who want to gain practical experience before taking on paid employment can work as volunteer broker support workers, working alongside paid brokers at every stage of the process. Broker support workers will be supervised by a broker from the organisation they work in, but will continue to receive support from Community Glue.


... as an independent broker (paid)

Some people may reach the standard required to work as an independent broker immediately after completing their training. Others might spend several months in another role building up their experience and confidence. Community Glue will help people to compile a folder of evidence to demonstrate to employers that they have reached the standard necessary to work as brokers. People who have undertaken volunteer work with Age UK Oxfordshire will automatically be interviewed for ‘zero hours’ contracts (where people are not promised regular work but can be offered employment where they have specialist knowledge or experience that might be helpful).

All peer brokers will be eligible to attend the County Council’s ‘Support With Confidence’ Training free. This means that those who want to will be able to work as self-employed brokers. People who do this will be able to develop their own support plans, and work on support plans for other members of their community. Those who do this can be paid by the County Council.


Ongoing Support and Training

Community Glue will be available to meet with people throughout their training, and for people working as a part of the panel or doing volunteer work with other local organisations. We can also help to set up volunteer placements with other local charities if people want to build their experience. In general the kind of volunteer work that people can do with other charities will be geared towards helping people gain knowledge and experience about brokerage. For example, Age UK Oxfordshire have a role for ‘researchers’, so that where a need for a particular type of support has been identified they will research the available options. Oxfordshire Mind run a telephone Information Line and maintain a database of local support options? Both of these organisations will provide their own training and support in addition to that available through the Peer Brokerage scheme.


Application Process


We want to try and get a diverse group together for the first programme of training, and also to make sure that people have a realistic idea of what's involved and that they will be able to contrubute in group exercises and discussions. Whilst we want to be able to find space for everyone, we may have to select people. If you want to talk to someone here, you can contact us through the web site. If you leave a number and a good time to call, we'd be happy to call you back. Otherwise you can fill in an application form (MS Word or .pdf format) and send it back to us before September. Ideally we want to meet everyone before the course starts. We've set 2 days aside in September (see above), but we're happy to make other arrangements if people are busy then.


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