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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.
The Social Work Bursary won't fix the world: why is this a surprise?
The Department for Health is currently consulting about reforms to the bursary scheme for social work trainees in the UK. Following in the wake of nursing and teaching, social work became an entirely 'graduate profession' in 2003; the bursary was supposed to make sure recruitment didn't drop off when trainees were faced with an extra year of study. There are two main reasons for changing things now. Firstly, of course, the government doesn't want to pay the £112M annual bill. The Comprehensive Spending Review has identified a saving target, though they're not saying exactly how big it is (Click here to read more).
I've just been listening to the excellent Radio 4 Programme Things We Forgot to Remember, in which Michael Portillo talks about the Morgenthau Plan, drawn up to punish post-war Germany. This consisted, amongst other things, of wrecking industry and forcing Germans to make reparation by working in labour camps outside of Germany. Before being abandoned in favour of the more progressive Marshall Plan, the proposals had gained the support of Churchill and US President Franklin Roosevelt. (Click here to read more).
I'm a social worker, and have recently joined the new College of Social Work. The creation of the College has been highly controversial within the profession, which has always struggled to find its own identity amidst a sea of government and regulatory requirements. What finally convinced me was the publication of a report from the Centre of For Workforce Intelligence that shows many Councils are replacing qualified social workers with cheaper 'unqualified' staff, for example support brokers (something I also do). This seemed like to good time to reflect on whether there's still a need for social workers at all (click here to read more).
Community Care magazine has reported that the latest government figures show a huge national variation in the implementation of personal budgets. Originally the plan had been for all adults entitled to publicly funded adult care to have personal budgets by 2011, but the date was put back to 2013 when the deadline began to appear unrealistic. In the end the national figure for 2010-11 was 29.2% , compared to 13% in 2009-10. The biggest surprise, though, has been the variation in the scores for different local authority areas. Click here for full story.
For the first time, GP practices are being required to register with the Care Quality Commission. The CQC will require GP practices to register with them by April 2013. On the face of it, this is a good thing, as it offers an assurance that certain minimum standards are being met by services. However, the new requirements present some potential issues in terms of access for people living in rural areas.