Archives for category: Local Authotities

New figures from Age UK reveal the shocking extent to which millions of older people are being left to prop up the country’s disintegrating care system, with those aged 65 and over providing nearly 54 million hours of unpaid care each week in England in 2016[i].

These figures highlight the rising demands being placed on older informal carers as Government underfunding causes the social care safety net to shrink, resulting in increasing numbers of our older population in need of care, being thrown back on their own and their family’s resources.

In 2015/16, over two and a quarter million (2,299,200) people aged 65 and over provided care – a 16.6 per cent increase on five years ago when 1,829,200 did so[ii],[iii].

Over 400,000 (404,400) of these unpaid carers are from the oldest demographic in our society (aged 80 and over), and they provided 12.7 million hours of care in 2015/16 – a 12.7 per cent increase from 2009/10[iv],[v].

Most older people willingly take on the task of helping to care for a loved one – usually but not always a husband or wife – and don’t think of themselves as doing anything out of the ordinary. However, leaving older people to shoulder too much, or sometimes all of the responsibility and hard work of looking after someone in declining health and with significant care needs is unfair. It can also put these older family carers’ own health at risk, and many of them are coping with health problems themselves.

Over half (54.8 per cent) of people aged 65 and over who provide at least one hour of care have a long-standing illness or disability – equating to well over a million people (1,262,500), or one in ten (10.7%) of all these family carers

 

Source: New figures from Age UK show our social care system is disintegrating | Care Industry News

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A judge has dismissed a judicial review brought by national care provider body Care England against a local authority it said had breached its Care Act duties by setting fees too low.

Care England argued that Essex council had fixed the fees it offered to providers under a new commissioning framework at a level “significantly below their costs of care”.

It said this contravened section 5 of the Care Act, which stipulates local authorities must promote an efficient and effective care market and “have regard” to ensuring its sustainability.

The issue was highlighted last month by a report from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) which found care home operators had been charging self-funding residents an average of 41% more than council-funded ones in order to remain solvent.

 

Source : ‘Care Act breach’ judicial review over provider fees dismissed : Community Care


A young man with special educational needs has been left in short-stay accommodation for nearly two years because social workers in Lancashire could not decide where he should live permanently, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.

The man was placed in short-stay accommodation by Lancashire County Council after his family told social workers they were struggling to cope with his behaviour and the impact it was having on his younger siblings.

The Ombudsman’s investigation found the placement in January 2016 was only meant to be temporary, but the man is still living in the accommodation today. It is likely the man’s behaviour has deteriorated through not living in suitable accommodation and not receiving appropriate support.

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, Michael King, said:

“This man has been left in limbo in this accommodation, which by its very nature was only ever intended to be a short stay. He has missed out on vital support and development opportunities

 

Source: Disabled man left for two years in unsuitable short-stay accommodation let down by council | Care Industry News


Ofsted said a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub was under pressure as a result of poor police notifications to social workers

by Luke Stevenson

Photo: tatomm/Fotolia

Social workers are being placed “under pressure” as a result of poor police notifications to the multi-agency safeguarding hub, an inspection of Poole’s children’s services has found.

Inspectors found social workers in the council’s hub were placed under pressure due to having to gather “unnecessary information” following police notifications that did not meet the threshold for social care.

Ofsted rated children’s services in Poole as ‘require improvement to be good’ overall, but said thresholds for referrals to social care were generally well understood and applied by partners.

It added that responses to referrals were generally effective and the risks were well managed, but concluded that parental consent was not routinely recorded. Inspectors recommended the council ensure sufficient resources for the hub, to ensure professionals had the capacity to share information in a timely manner.

Inconsistent outcomes

Inspectors praised the senior leadership team who had worked “purposefully with partners to implement a number of systemic changes to sustain and improve outcomes for children”.

However, these outcomes were inconsistent, and despite strengths in adoption and care leaver performance weaknesses had emerged in child protection and looked-after children services.

“Senior managers know that there is still work to do to strengthen many aspects of social work practice to make it consistently good,” the report said.

Caseload reduction

Poole’s improvement plan had led to a reduction in social workers’ caseloads and the workforce was stable, Ofsted found, but quality assurance activity had not yet led to improved outcomes for children for all children because of “inconsistent management oversight”.

The report said: “Regular supervision takes place for the vast majority of social workers, but the quality is variable and not yet sufficiently reflective to challenge ineffective practice.

“Weak management oversight and some poor practice in the out-of-hours service have left some children vulnerable.”

Recommendations for Poole council included improving contingency planning in child protection and child in need cases and increasing the effectiveness of management oversight by ensuring decisions and actions are clearly recorded within children’s case files.

Mike White, cabinet portfolio holder for Children and Young People in the council welcomed the strengths Ofsted found in the service.

“It’s particularly pleasing that the inspectors recognised the great work of our social workers in listening to children when helping those families in need of our support,” White said.

“We are committed to improving outcomes for all children in the borough and will use the findings of this report to further raise the standard of our service,” he added.

 

Source : Social workers in council’s safeguarding hub ‘under pressure’ gathering ‘unnecessary information’, Ofsted finds : Community Care


Stoke-on-Trent council called ‘callous’ for proposing penalty notice in city centre followed by court appearance and fine.

This article titled “Council proposes £1,000 fines for homeless sleeping in tents” was written by Helen Pidd North of England editor, for theguardian.com on Friday 24th November 2017 15.21 UTC

A council has been called “cruel and callous” for proposing £1,000 fines to homeless people sleeping in tents in the city centre.

Stoke-on-Trent council in Staffordshire is consulting on a public space protection order (PSPO) that will make it an offence for a person to “assemble, erect, occupy or use” a tent unless part of a council-sanctioned activity such as a music festival.

Anyone who fails to pay their £100 on-the-spot penalty notice can be prosecuted and fined up to £1,000 in court.

The PSPO will cover the city centre, Hanley park, Festival park and Octagon retail park.

Ruth Smeeth, the Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent North and Kidsgrove, said: “This is a cruel and callous policy to inflict on our most vulnerable in the lead-up to Christmas. We do have a growing problem with homelessness here in Stoke-on-Trent, but punishing people for their misfortune is no way to fix it.

“It’s right and proper that the police take action to stop antisocial behaviour on our streets, but punishing the homeless simply for being homeless is appalling.

In Article

“In recent years we’ve seen local funding for drug and alcohol treatment slashed and support to tackle homelessness cut to the bone. Locking these people up or saddling them with debt they can’t pay will only make the problem worse.”

The PSPO is supported by many businesses in Stoke. Jonathan Bellamy, the chair of the City Centre Partnership, told the Stoke Sentinel: “In recent weeks I have personally witnessed in the city centre: two bottles of vodka smashed on the pavements; a drunken woman clearly out of her mind and damaging the front door of a building in Cheapside while children walked by; and a man urinating outside an empty shop in the Cultural Quarter at two in the afternoon.

“Millions of pounds has been invested in the city centre in recent years by the council and private businesses and thousands of livelihoods depend on this vital piece of our local economy. That should not be undermined by the ill-disciplined, destructive behaviour of a few people.”

The GMB union urged members of the public in Stoke to write to the council to oppose the measure, which is designed to stamp out antisocial behaviour. The council is consulting on the proposal until 15 December and says it is a response to requests from local business people, shoppers and visitors.

It would also criminalise sleeping in public toilets as well as “begging in a manner that is reasonably perceived to be intimidating or a nuisance”.

Stuart Richards, senior organiser at GMB, said: “Cuts to benefits, council funding and a lack of affordable housing have led to a massive increase in the number of people affected by homelessness across the West Midlands.

“We’re not going to solve the issues or causes around this by criminalising or punishing those who end up sleeping on our streets. GMB is asking the people of Stoke to take part in the council’s consultation to help to force a change in this proposal.”

Gareth Snell, the MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, said: “Stoke-on-Trent’s approach to the homeless is seriously flawed. Fining those who have nowhere to go is unacceptable. But to compound the problem, they now plan to cut support for homelessness services in Stoke-on-Trent by £1m as a result of budget cuts.

In Article 2

“They are failing the very people we should be helping most.”

More than 3,000 people have signed a petition calling on the council to abandon the proposal.

Last year, freedom of information requests by the Vice website discovered that at least 36 local councils in England and Wales “have introduced or are working on PSPOs which criminalise activities linked to homelessness”.

A Stoke-on-Trent city council spokesman said: “No one is being fined for sleeping in a tent. This is a consultation only at this stage, under national public space protection order legislation – powers which a number of authorities up and down the country are already using. A number of options are being considered, aimed at addressing issues of aggressive begging and the kind of antisocial behaviour that all cities face. We’re looking at options because businesses and visitors to the city centre have asked us to. We encourage all feedback before the consultation ends on 15 December.”

“There is a range of support in place to help homeless people in the city. The city council has given one of its buildings to be used as The Macari Centre for homeless people, alongside work in partnership with organisations including Brighter Futures, Salvation Army, YMCA, Voices. We work closely with churches and have launched street chaplains teams to work in the city centre.”

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Source : Council proposes £1,000 fines for homeless sleeping in tents : Welfare Weekly


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A coalition representing 20% of the care sector for people with learning disabilities, Learning Disability Voices, is deeply disappointed that the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond remained silent on the crisis facing social care in today’s Budget statement.

The Chancellor stated his intention for Britain to be ‘a country fit for everyone’ and yet today’s Budget failed to mention an issue affecting many of the most vulnerable people in our society. The Budget did nothing to address the immediate funding gap the Government has created around ‘sleep-in’ shifts or the longer-term funding of vital services for people with learning disabilities.

Responding to the Budget statement
Tim Cooper, co-chair of Learning Disability Voices and CEO of charity providers United Response, said:

“The silence around social care and the Government-created sleep-in crisis is deeply troubling. This is a daily concern for many people working in the care sector and for many vulnerable citizens in the UK who rely on their care.

“The budget does nothing to reduce anxiety for people with the most complex needs, and those talented individuals who care for them. Our carers and the people we care for deserve better than complete silence from this Government.

“The Budget provided no relief for providers, local authorities and disabled people on personal budgets who are compelled to find the £400m to fund the back pay – despite the situation being created by the Government’s own failures.

“The sleep-in crisis is an existential threat to some social care providers, not to mention their staff and the vulnerable people we care for – a fact we have brought to the Government’s attention time and again.

“Government needs to stop ignoring the social care sector and provide the funding for the £400 million backpay bill now.

“Social care staff deserve better wages, and we are also calling for the Government to ensure that squeezed local authorities receive sufficient additional investment to pay for this.

“We now face the gravest challenge to social care that I have witnessed in my 30 years within the sector.”

Matthew Flinton, co-chair of Learning Disability Voices, said:

“Today the Chancellor has missed a crucial opportunity to address the imminent crisis facing the social care sector.”

 

Source :Budget 2017 fails to mention a sector on the brink of catastrophe says Learning Disability Voices : Care Industry News


Measures to address the long-term reform of adult social care need to be brought forward to tackle the significant financial, workforce and quality pressures facing the sector, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) is urging.

 

With more than half (53%) of councils expecting to overspend their adult social care budgets this year by up to nearly £21 million each, quality challenges increasing as a result of council savings, and vacancy rates for home care staff rising, there is a fear that the sustainability of adult social care could breach its tipping point.

 

Despite a £2 billion injection for social care over three years, which is going to reduce delayed transfers of care from hospitals, and the publication of a Green Paper next summer, ADASS remains concerned that this does not address a continuing funding gap, increased support for people living longer with more complex needs and the costs of the welcome National Living Wage.

 

The challenges – which threaten the ability of councils to fulfil their statutory duty under the Care Act – are impacting now on older and disabled people and their families, as well as care markets, care workers and the NHS.

 

ADASS is particularly concerned that financial pressures for the increasing care needs of working age adults – those with learning or physical disabilities or mental health problems – now exceed those of older people.

 

With ring-fenced investment money topping a list of concerns of Directors, ADASS has made its submission to the Autumn Budget, in which it is calling on Government to:

 

·         Build on the additional £2 billion for the period to 2019/20 by taking further steps to secure extra recurring funding to address continuing service pressures and secure the stability of the care market

 

·         Bring forward at the earliest opportunity clear and wide-ranging options for consultation about putting the social care system on a more secure and sustainable long-term footing beyond 2020. This should aim to secure the right balance between the protection of private assets from catastrophic care costs and adequate public funding for those who have never been able to acquire such assets

 

·         Help to address the urgent workforce pressures in the sector by: affording care staff, social workers and social care nurses the same recognition as other professionals, like doctors, nurses and teachers; enhancing the status of care workers and addressing pay issues and training; and developing a national recruitment campaign and addressing the uncertainty for non-UK EU citizens who are a crucial part of our workforce.

Recognising the importance of adult social care in achieving long-term transformation of the wider health and care systems in order to promote independence and reduce the need for long-term care; and ensuring the full engagement of councils in sustainability and transformation partnerships and in the emergence of accountable care systems.

Margaret Willcox, President of ADASS, said:

“There is a growing depth of shared concerns about the quality, safety and sufficiency of adult social care services from across the sector. This is impacting on thousands of older and disabled people and their families now.

“The extra £1 billion for adult social care this year barely covers the £824 million in savings that Directors will have made this year and cannot hide the fact that by the end of this financial year, £6 billion has been cut from councils’ adult social care budgets since 2010 – with need for our services growing all that time.

“With a continuing funding gap this year and beyond, increased overspending in council budgets, care providers closing or returning contracts, rising need, extra costs due to the National Living Wage and continuing difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff, the social care system remains in a perilously fragile state.

“Not only is there evidence that the future care needs of older people will be greater than previous estimates, with far more care home places required over the coming years, but greater cost pressures are now coming from the needs of working age adults.

“Dedicated and hard-working care workers are providing good, personal care despite increasing pressures, but only 4 per cent of Directors are fully confident in their ability to fulfil their statutory duties under the Care Act this year.

“Adult social care needs to be a national priority and future-proofed for current and future generations who will be needing care in increasing numbers and for a longer time during their lives.

“Whilst we are pleased that Government has committed to publishing the long-awaited Green Paper on social care next summer, more needs to be done now to secure extra recurring money to address funding gaps, address continuing service pressures and the stability of the care market.

“Proposals for the long-term reform of adult social care should be brought forward and need to address the needs of the whole population – not just older people.

“It is also vital that future funding settlement for the NHS and adult social care take account of the inter-dependency of these services and encourage collaboration rather than cost shunting.

“The need for a cross-party consensus on establishing a fair and transparent solution to adult social care is growing – and ADASS looks forward to contributing to debates on this.”

 

Source : Adult social care needs long term funding, starting now says ADASS : Care Industry News


Ahead of this week’s Autumn Budget, Community Care highlights the main pressures facing social care for children and adults

Photo: Michail Petrov/Fotolia

by Gordon Carson & Luke Stevenson

To stake their claims to receive more funding in next week’s Autumn Budget, children’s and adults’ social care leaders and experts have submitted a series of requests to the chancellor, Philip Hammond, as the sector tries to convince the government of the scale and scope of the crises facing the sector.

Here, we’ve picked out some of the key messages and numbers from their submissions and other reports, ahead of the chancellor’s speech on Wednesday (22 November).

Children’s social care:

25% – the real terms cut in central government funding for children’s services, from £10 billion to £7.6 billion, from 2010-11 to 2015-16. Spending on services by local authorities has fallen from £10 billion to £8.4 billion (Source: Turning the Tide)

£2 billion – the estimated funding gap in children’s services by 2020 (Source: Local Government Association)

£605 million – the overspend on children’s services in 2015/16 (Source: Local Government Association)

40% – the reduction in local authorities’ early help services since 2010-11 (Source: Turning the Tide)

7% – the increase in crisis support spending over the same period (Source: Turning the Tide)

29% – the predicted cut in funding for children’s services from central government by 2020. The most deprived councils had already had to cut funding six times more than the least-deprived areas (Source: Turning the Tide)

23% – the level of spending cuts made in the most deprived local authorities (Source: Turning the Tide)

40% – the proportion of council leaders who said they were unable to meet one or more statutory duties for children (Source: National Children’s Bureau)

72,670  – the number of looked-after children in England as of March 2017 (Source: The Department for Education)

The growing pressures on children’s services have been highlighted again in a report by a consortium of children’s charities, including Action for Children, the National Children’s Bureau and The Children’s Society, which warned that councils were being forced to intervene later in children’s lives because of funding pressures.

The Local Government Association, responding to the report, said councils had worked hard to minimise the impact of cuts, but the increase in numbers of children in care and referrals to children’s services had made this harder to maintain.

Richard Watts, chair of the Local Government Association’s children and young people board, said: “With such high demand for child protection services, councils have been forced to scale back the early help that can make such a difference in reducing the need for this support in the first place.

“This report suggests that government funding for early intervention has fallen by £1.7 billion since 2010, leaving local councils with the impossible task of attempting to continue delivering these services while also providing help and protection to the growing number of children at immediate risk of harm.”

He called on the government to use the Autumn Budget to fully fund children’s services. The association has previously warned about a £2 billion funding gap in children’s services by 2020.

Adults’ social care:

£2.5 billion – the funding gap facing adult social care in 2019-20 (source: a pre-Budget report published by The King’s Fund, Nuffield Foundation and The Health Foundation, which said social care “remains on the brink of crisis”)

7% – the real-terms cut in gross spending on adult social care services by councils, from £19.1 billion in 2009-10 to £17.8 billion in 2016-17 (Source: The King’s Fund, Nuffield Foundation and The Health Foundation)

25% – the reduction in the number of older people accessing publicly funded social care, equating to more than 400,000 people, due to tightened eligibility criteria (Source: The King’s Fund, Nuffield Foundation and The Health Foundation)

9.5% – the increase in hours of unpaid care provided between 2009 and 2014 (Source: The King’s Fund, Nuffield Foundation and The Health Foundation)

1.2 million – the number of older people estimated to have unmet care needs (Source: The King’s Fund, Nuffield Foundation and The Health Foundation)

50 – the number of councils who have had adult care contracts handed back to them by providers (Source: Association of Directors of Adult Social Services annual budget survey, 2017)

64 – the number of councils who had experienced the closure of adult care providers in their area (Source: Association of Directors of Adult Social Services annual budget survey, 2017)

6.6% – the overall staff vacancy rate across adult social care in 2016-17 (Source: Skills for Care / The King’s Fund, Nuffield Foundation and The Health Foundation)

10.4% – the vacancy rate in domiciliary care in 2016-17 (Source: Skills for Care The King’s Fund, Nuffield Foundation and The Health Foundation)

95,000 – the number of people from Europe working in the adult social care sector, compared to 67,000 five years ago. “As a result, Brexit is likely to compound these staffing challenges in social care.” (Source: Skills for Care The King’s Fund, Nuffield Foundation and The Health Foundation)

£1.3 billion – the amount of money required to stabilise the adult social care provider market (Source: pre-Budget submission by the Local Government Association)

£366 million – social care overspends reported by councils in 2016-17 (Source: Local Government Association)

£824 million – savings required in 2017-18 (Source: Local Government Association)

24% – the proportion of funding authorities in England which say they have enough care provision to meet demand (Source: Family and Childcare Trust Older People’s Care Survey 2017)

The government’s announcement in the past week that a green paper on older people’s social care will be published by summer 2018 has largely been welcomed, though immediate funding pressures remain and are, if anything, intensifying.

Although the government announced an extra £2 billion for adult social care in the Spring Budget, the Local Government Association has said this is not enough to deal with all immediate and short-term pressures on adult social care, and highlighted that the funding stops at the end of 2019-20.

It also pointed out that this funding was followed by the introduction in July of “further, more rigid and unrealistic target reductions on delayed transfers of care”, and the possibility of sanctions if targets were not met.

Although the adult social care council tax precept, which enables local authorities to raise council tax bills by 3% in 2017-18 and a further 3% 2018-19 to help fund adult social care, was a “welcome short-term measure”, the LGA said extra council tax income “will not bring in anywhere near enough money to alleviate the growing pressure on social care both now and in the future”.

It also said the government’s main vehicle for driving integration, the Better Care Fund (BCF), had “lost credibility and is no longer fit for purpose”. Its focus on reducing pressure on NHS acute services “is detracting from local initiatives to support social care and stabilise the perilously fragile social care provider market”.

 

Source : Social care’s funding pressures in numbers : Community Care


Social workers need to understand and use research to provide effective support, but there are debates about how evidence should be used

description_of_image_used_in_evidence_based_practice_piece_writing_in_notebook_imagesource_rex_shutterstock

Photo: imageSource/REX/Shutterstock

Social workers need to understand and use research in practice if they are to provide effective help. The Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) says that social workers should “make use of research to inform practice” and the Knowledge and Skills Statement for child and family practitioners says they should “make use of the best evidence from research to… support families and protect children”.

This all sounds very simple – but evidence-based practice is more complicated than that. In a recently updated guide for Community Care Inform Children, David Wilkins covers how to use evidence to inform your practice, and different ways to find relevant information and stay up-to-date with research. In the following excerpt from the guide, he goes through what evidence-based practice is, and some of the key ideas and controversies around it. Inform subscribers can read the full, in-depth guide.

Evidence-based practice (EBP)

Lindsay (2007) explains EBP in simple terms:

it involves using the best evidence you have about the most effective care of individuals, using it with the person’s best interests in mind, to the best of your ability and in such a way that it is clear to others that you are doing it.”

Put like this, it is hard to see how anyone could dispute the value of EBP – but there are many who do and for understandable reasons, even if one might in the end disagree. Most of us would feel uneasy if our GP suggested a treatment based not on the best available evidence but because of their ‘gut feeling’ or an anecdote they were told by a more senior colleague. It seems equally obvious that social workers should have a good working knowledge of the issues they encounter and an evidence-informed understanding of the best ways to help.

It is unlikely that anyone really believes otherwise. However, there are debates and controversies about the nature of evidence and how it should be used. Those critical of EBP often argue it is based on a medical model of evidence and that applying this approach in social work creates more problems than it solves. Put simply, medical experiments establish whether a medicine works for a specific illness. But are social work interventions comparable to medicines? And are the issues encountered by social workers comparable with illnesses? The answer to both these questions must surely be ‘no’.

Socially defined issues

Firstly, the issues social workers deal with tend to be socially defined. Deciding a child is being abused is not the same as saying they have measles. The latter can be determined via an objective blood test, which gives the same result irrespective of who administers the test. The former involves not only defining ‘abuse’ but determining what should be done about it and different results are not only possibly but likely depending on who make the judgement and when. A critical view of these issues is essential, and this makes interpreting ‘evidence’ – and deciding what counts as ‘evidence’ – more complicated.

For instance, both cholera and child abuse are more common in poor families; cholera, because of a lack of access to clean water and good hygiene among poorer people in poorer countries. The link between child abuse and poverty is much more complicated. It may be because the stress and difficulty of living in poverty makes a minority of parents more likely to abuse their children but it could also be definitional, because we are more likely to label the parenting practices of poor families as ‘child abuse’ than those of more affluent families. Accepting ‘common sense’ definitions of abuse and applying ‘evidence-informed’ interventions without critical thought is not good social work. EBP cannot provide simple solutions to complex problems for there are none (Pitts, 2001).

Social workers need to understand the contribution of social causes to many of the issues they deal with. Experimental evidence, on the other hand, tends to individualise problems. For instance, The Family Nurse Partnership is targeted at pregnant women living in poverty. The intervention appears helpful for many (although not in every case; see below). However, there remains a fundamental mismatch between the presenting issue and the response. Poverty is not an individual problem. Yet, gathering evidence about ‘what works’ in response to social problems is difficult using experimental approaches (although not impossible, as recent experiments involving ‘basic income’ may yet demonstrate). Experimental methods often shift the focus on to individuals and ignore the social causes of problems. This should be anathema to social work, where we aim not only to improve individual welfare but also for social justice.

Social, not medical, interventions

Social workers work in situations in which social, psychological and biological factors interact in complex ways. Social interventions are much more complicated than medical ones. Although the Family Nurse Partnership does seem to help pregnant women living in poverty in the USA, the same is apparently not true for pregnant women living in poverty in the UK. This might be because universal services in the UK are more readily available than the USA. Whatever the explanation, these different results for the same intervention in different locations highlights the importance of critically examining not simply ‘the intervention’ but the social and economic context in which it was administered and for whom (Pawson and Tilley, 1997).

EBP can risk giving the impression – or even creating a situation – in which social workers ‘apply’ interventions to people, rather than working with people. This would run counter to social work values. This does not mean that EBP is irrelevant for social work but it does indicate the need for caution, to ensure we still work in partnership with people, rather than assuming ‘we know best’. Using EBP requires highly professional individuals with the skills, knowledge and institutional support to use evidence appropriately.

Finally, a more pragmatic criticism of EBP can be made in relation to the very limited evidence base for social work. While we have a plethora of high-quality descriptive research, there is little strong evidence for the effectiveness of specific ways of working. As a result, social workers often need to ‘borrow’ evidence from other settings and translate it into their own context.

Research

Lindsay, B (2007)
Understanding research and evidence-based practice
Exeter: Reflect Press

Pawson, R and Tilley, N (1997)
Realistic Evaluation
London: Sage

Pitts, J (2001)
Korrectional karaoke: New Labour and the zombification of youth justice
Youth Justice, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp3-16

 

 

Source : What is evidence-based practice? : Community Care


Disabled people aged 18-64 make up a third of all social care users, yet they are not getting the support they need

Young man with crutches sitting on hospital chairs

For too long, discussions on social care have overlooked those who need care and support earlier in life. Photograph: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

There’s no doubt that one of the biggest challenges facing Britain is how we deal with our ageing population. The countless warnings about the crisis in social care leave no room for doubt. Over the last seven years, budgets have decreased by more than £6bn (pdf) in real terms, and more than 1.2 million older people are struggling to get by without proper care.

The government’s promise to consult on social care in England provides an opportunity to bring about change. But for too long, this debate has almost exclusively focused on older people, overlooking those who need care and support much earlier in life.

More than 280,000 working age disabled adults rely on social care to lead independent, healthy lives. When done right, it empowers them not just to live, but to have a life.

At the MS Society, our new report, End the Care Crisis: Stories from people affected by MS in Englanddemonstrates the transformative impact social care can have for people with multiple sclerosis (MS). From Edith, whose support enables her to get to work each morning, to Martyn who, with the support of a carer, is able to do things others might take for granted, like go to the cinema.

It also highlights the devastating consequences when people aren’t able to get adequate support. Take Angela, for example. At just 35 with two young children, her husband (and carer) is at breaking point. And yet the first time she contacted the council for support, she was told help was only given to people in wheelchairs.

The system continues to fail us, and that is totally unacceptable.

Disabled people aged 18-64 make up a third of long-term social care users, accounting for almost half of the social care budget. We already know that younger people with MS are less likely to get proper support – only 32% of 18- to 29-year-olds with MS have all their care needs met, compared with 73% of those aged 70 to 79. But this isn’t the only thing illustrating the age divide.

Perhaps one of the most worrying symptoms of our failing social care system is the number of younger adults living in care homes for older people. A Freedom of Information request by the MS Society revealed more than 3,300 adults under 65 are in this situation in England. This indicates that, across the country, almost one in seven younger disabled adults in residential care could be in homes with mostly older people, and potentially missing out on the specialist care they need.

Not only are care homes for older people rarely equipped to meet all the needs of younger adults, living in such settings can be extremely isolating, and have a damaging impact on their quality of life and mental health. This is just one example of a much broader, deep-seated problem.

As a country, we do not provide younger adults with conditions such as MS the care we know they need. The question of how we fund and deliver quality social care has been a subject of debate in this country for at least 20 years. We’ve seen 10 government consultations and reviews of social care in that time, yet our politicians have failed to make the difficult decisions on the back of these.

Social care remains in crisis and there will be a £2.5bn funding gap by the end of the decade. While it’s promising that the government last month finally acknowledged the need to improve social care for younger as well as older people, we must hold it to account on this.

There is increasing evidence that fixing the social care system makes sense – not just ethically and morally but financially too. Reform could help prevent and delay acute needs from developing, reduce pressure on the NHS, galvanise local economies and, most importantly, enable disabled people to live independent, dignified and productive lives.

This latest consultation has to involve disabled people of all ages, offering real action and a bold vision for the future. One that recognises the experiences of everyone who depends on social care, and finally gives us a system that works for all who need it.

Michelle Mitchell is chief executive of the MS Society

 

Source: We can’t fix social care if we think it’s just for older people : The Guardian

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