One of the biggest challenges facing our members in Hackney over the coming months and years is the government led agenda to transform adult social care.
The initiative to create a new National Care Service was started under the previous Labour Government and will be continued under the current Tory administration, probably with more vigour.
In short the transforming agenda is all about giving those who currently receive care or those who are likely to receive care service in the future the choice about where they get that care from.
this is known broadly as ‘personlisation’ and involves the local authority assessing the needs of service users and then providing them with a ‘personal budget’ to spend how they like.
Those who are eligible will then have the choice to either access caring services from the Council or alternatively choose to opt out and buy in care from private or third sector or even employ their family members to provide home caring services.
In addition to personal budgets local authorities are being encouraged to focus on ‘re-enablement’.
This involves providing those who are entitled to caring services with an intensive six weeks of support and counselling designed at giving people the skills they require to live independently for longer thus negating the need for the council to provide more costly full-blown care to those who have been re-enabled.
Councils which have already implemented the transforming agenda have found that around 30% of existing service users choose to opt out of council care and this will undoubtedly lead to a reduction in the work force.
Hackney has already carried out some small pilots in this area and is ‘committed’ to bringing about the necessary changes by the end of the year so staff need to be aware of how they will potentially fit into these plans.
Unison is already in talks with management over this massive issue which we are told is still in a fairly early stage.
For those who want to find out more about this issue should read the governments consultation document which can be found at http://careandsupport.direct.gov.uk/. More info can also be found on the Unison website at: http://www.unison.org.uk/acrobat/A9733a.pdf and http://www.unison.org.uk/acrobat/A9733b.pdf.