A resounding call has been made for social care leaders to make `every pound stretch further’; to be honest with the public about the challenges social care faces, but to balance this with the abundance of examples of creativity, partnership and innovation from across the country.
According to incoming ADASS President David Pearson
“we have a responsibility to make the public purse go as far as it can. Our achievement in reducing our spend by £2.68 billion while at the same time implementing personalisation, supporting carers, tendering or re-tendering services, joining up services with the NHS, providing better advice, reducing infrastructure costs and exploring ways of building community capacity has been absolutely extraordinary.”
And he lists a series of schemes* from Bristol to Sunderland; from Norfolk and London to illustrate just what can be done “with a determined, creative approach.
He goes on to reveal details from an exclusive ADASS survey of social care procurement which show there is an increasingly clear responsibility for councils to understand the actual costs of care and take this into account in setting our prices. DASSs believe, rightly, that it is the provider’s responsibility to ensure that basics such as the terms and conditions of employment, and paying for travel time and costs, is the provider’s responsibility.
“But we need to ensure that we are making this possible; and that we have ways of knowing that providers are fulfilling those responsibilities. Again: ensuring transparency is crucial”
Mr Pearson singles out sector-led improvement (SLI) as a growing success story for social care: 93% of local authorities now publish local accounts, and points out that the opportunities for mutual learning are enormous.
There are, he acknowledges, remaining questions about the universality of take-up; the extent of SLI’s impact, and the transparency of some councils’ performance.
“This coming year we need to continue with the SLI programme in each region, enhance our transparency and measure the impact”
Unstinting in his praise for social work, he insists there is a `huge job of work’ to be done across all our organisations “to ensure that social care workers’ roles are valued and supported. When I visit particular services I always feel encouraged and humbled by the energy, commitment, care, determination and pride demonstrated by the people who work in our sector
“Social workers are a key part of building the future whether it’s in integrated teams, leading safeguarding investigations, working alongside service users, or developing self-directed support.
Ending on a personal note, he recalls his early experiences as a young social worker in Nottinghamshire with a passion for making a difference:
“This passion is undiminished, and I intend to channel this in doing my utmost to work with you, and represent you, while helping to lead us as we work with others to ensure a fair deal in social care services for those who need them and use them.”