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On Saturday 29th March we launched or Report Personal Budgets: Where Next in Oxfordshire? This was the result of nearly four months of collaboration between ourselves and several other groups and organisations that had been involved with Personal Budgets locally and nationally.
On 8th March 2014 we held a small informal event in West Oxford Community Centre to look at Personal Budgets, and how they've been working in the county. Since 2008 people receiving adult social care have been able to get a 'personal budget' to buy their own care, with some NHS patients gaining the same rights in 2011. In April of this year NHS patients in other groups will gain the same rights, and we wanted to find out what was happening locally before this change went ahead.
What We Liked About 'Personalisation'
Jon and I started Community Glue because we wanted to support initiatives that gave people more say in their social and health care. In previous jobs, we had been frustrated by an approach to commissioning services that often paid tokenistic attention to the views of service users, and led to inflexible support, low staff morale, and a risk-averse culture.
In 2008 Oxfordshire County Council had introduced 'self-directed support', under the ambitious banner of 'Transforming Adult Social Care'. The vision was that, with the help of a support broker, people could design their own support packages, and that this would in turn lead to them shaping services in ways which would meet their needs more effectively.
Having control of their own social care budget seemed to offer people genuine power over how their care was provided. We were optimistic about how this might improve people's experience of social care.
New research shows that social care outcomes for older adults are clearly linked to expenditure, and that the impact of personal budgets has been marginal. Click here to read more.
People who care about Oxfordshire's mental health services may have noticed that our Primary Care Trust (soon to be replaced by a Clinical Commissioning Group) recently bought in private sector consultants to help them develop their commissioning strategy for Oxfordshire. One of these was Beacon UK – recently branded beaconhs.co.uk on their web site. While they do provide consultancy, they also act “... as an integrator, coordinating mental health services from different health and social care providers to ensure care effectively meets the needs of each person with mental health problems.” Sounds good, but what does it really mean? Click here for whole story
The Oxfordshire Family Support Network Annual Information Fair is always a lively and fun event. This time I spent a pleasant hour in the company of Jules McKim, Intensive Interaction Co-ordinator at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust (successor to the Ridgeway Partnership). Intensive interaction is a new technique rapidly gaining momentum in learning disability services and beyond. As I learned in the workshop, Intensive Interaction is commonly used to help people who don’t use spoken words. (Click here to read more).
Data from the Information Centre for Health and Social Care shows that compulsory mental health treatment for people in community settings has risen for the third successive year since the powers were introduced. Worryingly, data for 2010-11 shows an increase of 10% on the previous year. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends on your perspective. (Click here for full story).
At our second Food For Thought meeting last night, the main topic of conversation was the County Council's Dial-a-Ride service for people with mobility problems. The service was restructured in May, apparently as a result of the Council 'listening to customer feedback', but the message we heard was that people preferred the older system (click here to read more).
When it was launched in 2008, Self-Directed Support showed huge promise. So far it hasn't lived up to the hype. We've been looking at how personalisation can work, not just in social care but for all people irrespective of whether they have 'eligible needs'. We've been strongly influenced by the work of Simon Duffy and Ralph Broad of the Centre for Welfare Reform. Locally, Fiona Mullins of SoLocal has persuaded us of the potential of Timebanks. Today, we want to share our ideas. [Click here to read more]
Community Glue was delighted to welcome guests from across Oxfordshire to the launch of our Peer Broker Training Course in Oxford this afternoon. We discussed the scheme over a light meal of salad and samosas, some of which we managed to barbecue despite the weather! Click here for more details.