Thank you for the new Adult Social Care Strategy, I especially like the fact that it is focussed on individuals and preventative work, that I championed some 16 years ago. I agree with much of the report but am concerned that you seem to assume: 1) everyone has family and friends; 2) Everyone wants to be independent and help themselves. Some people come to a situation where they give up and need external support, through loneliness, illness or disability. I agree we desperately need to reduce isolation and loneliness, so people can live happier and more independently for longer, but some are beyond that. I applaud the work The LINK does, your case study of extra care for Margaret is heartening, but I know there are people who need residential support and are not meeting strict criteria. It seems that individuals have to get to a crisis point to qualify for anything. How, may I ask, are you going to provide for these people who seem not to be unwell enough to receive support and so make their lives worth living?
I am pleased that you have recognised personalisation and prevention as key principles of our Strategy. This will drive our work for the next five years and beyond. I would say that this document is of course a strategy and as part of a process, should this be approved tonight, we will now move onto designing the layer of services that fit beneath it.
We recognise fully that not everyone has family or friends that they can rely on. Our Strategy refers to a community led model of support where we, as a collective community, take responsibility and focus on people’s situations and try to design services to match needs. No one should feel that their life is not worth living and we acknowledge there is much work to do to enable some of our residents to develop and build the skills and friendships to sustain themselves. This Strategy articulates how vitally important it is to understand people’s needs and aspirations and to provide targeted support. This is also about designing services to match needs. This will deliver improvement in life chances and opportunities to become more active and engaged residents, with a lifestyle that is their choice and is meaningful and provides purpose. We appreciate that this is a process that is going to take time.
We acknowledge some people, as in your question, may not meet the criteria in place for support and therefore it is essential that there is a wide range of community based provision that can support them beyond this. You were present at our first ‘Designing our Neighbourhoods’ meeting, as was John Halsall, and know that this part of the process is about advertising, promoting and encouraging the full range of services in the Borough. Also the Voluntary Strategy, which is on the agenda tonight, is part of developing the level of services beyond that; encouraging the voluntary sector to step forward and do all the things they do well to help in this situation.
So where people stay at home we will support them to live independently as well as promoting a full range of day opportunities and activities to provide physical as well as mental stimulation as well as befriending and network opportunities. All of our services will be designed to be available to people before they get to a crisis point and the emphasis will be at all times to work with the community and our partners in the voluntary sector to advertise and promote the full range of what can be offered across the Borough so that everybody is aware of this well before they get to crisis point.
I was wondering has the Council, during the Covid crisis, brought to the attention of the Council more people who need the support that you are offering and even residential care at this time?
As you stated in your introduction the Covid crisis has obviously been a big challenge to the Department and yes I recognise the work of the Officers and all the people in the voluntary sector who have worked alongside them basically in providing services.
The answer is basically many of the most vulnerable we knew of before and we have been ringing them regularly to check on how they are and what services they need. It has brought forward other people and I think obviously the range of voluntary services in the community were put together very, very quickly; which is a credit to everybody who was involved with them. But now we are in the process where the systems are in place and we can begin to take stock a little bit and listen and learn from what has been going on and make sure that is incorporated in what we do medium to longer term. One day this will be over.