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Agenda item

Day opportunities transformation

      Report of the Chief Executive

 

Minutes:

Cllr Jane Davies, Cabinet Member for Adult Social care, SEND, Transition and Inclusion presented the report which provided detail about a commissioning and procurement approach to transform how disabled young people, adults and older people access daytime and evening activities which meet their needs and aspirations in life.

The Cabinet received a statement submitted by Helen Dixon in relation to this agenda item. A copy of the statement is available to read in agenda supplement 1 on the Council’s website here. In addition to the statement, Ms Dixon asked if the timeframes could be extended to allow organisations to adjust to the new arrangements. Cllr Davies offered to meet with Ms Dixon and Cllr Bob Jones MBE to discuss the matter further.

Cllr David Vigar also submitted a statement and questions prior to the Cabinet meeting.  Additional comments and questions would be raised later in the meeting. A copy of the statement and questions are available in Supplement 1 on the Council’s website here.

The report highlighted the Council spend on commissioned and grant-funded day opportunities, with the service being delivered to about 800 adults with varying needs which should be assessed under the Care Act. The current model of commissioning day opportunities did not fully meet the aspirations of people using the service, and therefore the report sets out a plan of how to modernise the offer and a route to achieve this. 

Cllr Laura Mayes and Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling welcomed the proposals and the widening of choice for users of the service. Cllr Blair-Pilling commented on the help offered by local communities to those in need.

Cllr Johnny Kidney, Chair of the Health Select Committee confirmed that a rapid scrutiny exercise was undertaken on 2 March 2022 at the request of Full Council and in addition the Health Select Committee considered the report at its meeting on 16 March 2022. He explained that the Select Committee has requested that a future update is brought back to Committee later in 2022 detailing the progress made following the launch of the open framework, outlining the take up from the luncheon and friendship clubs and also from the wider market.

Cllr Pip Ridout, Chair of the Financial Planning Task Group, commented on the financial implications section of the report and raised a concern about unintended outcomes of encouraging additional assessments which may increase costs and needs due to loneliness and isolation implications as a consequence of lockdown measures to tackle Covid.

Cllr David Vigar commented on the proposals and felt that the provision is uneven, with some clubs attracting more funding than others and many clubs receiving no funding at all. He explained that in practice it is the end of the current funding arrangement and clubs would need to work to a completely different model should they be successful in bidding to provide for those people assessed as requiring day care. Cllr Vigar asked for the proposals to be suspended for one year and that the Area Board distribute the funds as appropriate. Cllr Davies confirmed that responses had previously been provided on these matters and suggested that the two Cllrs meet to discuss Cllr Vigar’s concerns further.

Cllr Ian Thorn congratulated Council on its request for a rapid scrutiny exercise on the matter.  Cllr Thorn raised the following matters:

·       The influence and impact of the rapid scrutiny on the final report being considered by Cabinet. Cllr Kidney confirmed that the rapid scrutiny exercise asked for clearer language to be used in the report and in communication with the clubs, stressed the importance of the engagement events and requested an update on progress and would provide a watching brief going forward.

·       Concern about the number of elderly people not assessed under the Care Act and the provision being made for those people. Cllr Davies explained that wider provision would be available with the new framework, the Council would work with clubs to break down any perceived stigma, support a broader range of clubs and meet their needs. The desire is for more people to be assessed so that their needs can be met. Cllr Alford indicated that the service could be provided to those without an assessment.

Cllr Jon Hubbard, Chair of the Children’s Select Committee, also commented on:

·       The unintended consequences of additional costs in assessing more people.

·       consideration of a fairer way in distributing costs at a community level.

·       potential for a two-tier system, with those already assessed receiving a level of funding not applied to those who had not been assessed. Cllr Davies indicated that the service would be demand led and needs would be met. No intention to develop a two-tier system and clubs would operate an open doors policy to everyone.

Cllr Jo Trigg commented on: 

·       It’s My Life report by Wiltshire Centre for Independent Living, attached in the supplementary agenda here, and encouraged Councillors to read the report.

·       the proposals, in the main, being supported by all, the only issue related to their timing.

·       Care assessments and increase in need and likely impact on budgets.

Cllr Bob Jones MBE confirmed that he would meet with Cllr Davies to discuss the matter further.

Cllr Gordon King commented on the appropriate providers of services and their availability, and the higher level of support required for some people. Cllr Davies confirmed that providers were available and support for users would be appropriate to their needs and escalated as necessary.

Cllr Caroline Thomas commented on transition being the key, with a high level of assessment to determine the geographical spread of need. Cllr Davies confirmed that these areas would be included in the service, and that officers recognised the possibility for an increase in need.

Resolved:

Cabinet agrees

  • To the procurement of day opportunities that are goal-oriented and outcome-focused

 

  • To the development of a service specification that is informed by the views of disabled and older people and the people who support them

 

  • To the procurement of an open framework arrangement under the light touch regime

 

  • That the decision to award contracts against the framework is delegated to the Director of Procurement and Commissioning in consultation with the Corporate Director of People, the Corporate Director of Resources & Deputy Chief Executive, the Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, SEND and Transition and Inclusion, and the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills.

 

Reason for Decision:

 

Currently, day opportunities offer limited choice and control for customers. The offer is usually building-based and provides a traditional menu of activities. Whilst services are often valued, we have heard from customers and carers that whilst they access what is on offer, if a more diverse choice of opportunities was available, they would have higher aspirations for themselves.

 

Wiltshire Council has engaged with disabled and older people about what a good life looks like, and what support they would need to live that good life. The current model of spot-purchasing day opportunities does not enable the Council to shape the market, nor to have sufficient assurance of the quality and capacity of commissioned providers to deliver good outcomes to residents.

 

Procuring an open framework under the light touch regime will ensure that all providers are vetted to ensure they adhere to legal and quality standards and financial parameters. Successful providers will join the open framework, which will be clearly publicised to customers, carers and practitioners. People assessed under the Care Act as requiring a day opportunity will then be placed with the most appropriate service, using a combination of customer choice, geography, availability, etc – with the most cost effective option that meets need and choice being chosen. Each service user is placed with an individual service contract (rather than an overarching or block contract) which matches the needs of the individual.

 

(Note: Cllr Bob Jones MBE declared a personal interest as a Trustee of Open Door)

Supporting documents:

 

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