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Dorset County Council plans 'radical review' of adult social care
DORSET County Council is planning to transform the way it delivers adult social care in a bid to save £7million.
The directorate is to carry out a ‘radical review’ of all its operations with a focus on helping more people live independently.
Cabinet member for adult social care Jill Haynes said services would be redesigned under the banner of ‘Pathways of Independence’ to meet the challenges of the future.
She told a meeting of the council’s cabinet: “Only a radical review of all our functions will help us prepare for the future.”
Coun Haynes added: “The vision is to support people to live independently for as long as possible, to reduce demand for health and adult social care and to promote health and wellbeing.”
She said service users and carers would help shape the way services are delivered in the future and the council would also be embracing assistive technologies and putting a greater emphasis on prevention services.
The council will also look at setting up a local authority trading company to deliver services on the council’s behalf.
Coun Haynes said: “It is obvious that the current system, both the practice and culture, is not sustainable given the scale of financial reductions.”
Council leader Spencer Flower said the work being done to transform adult social care was a good example of the way the whole authority needed to change to meet future challenges.
Cabinet member for corporate resources Robert Gould added: “It is a crucial piece of work in where we are going and I think the team ought to be commended in what they have done so far and supported in developing this.”
Chief executive Debbie Ward said: “This project is actually critical for the whole authority.”
Cabinet member for children’s services Toni Coombs said that, given the sensitive nature of care services and the likely reaction to any proposed changes, it was important to communicate clearly with all those affected throughout the process.
Coun Haynes assured her colleague that a communication plan was one of the first pieces of work that was being carried out as part of the review.
CHIEF officer at Age UK Dorchester Di Lawrence praised a number of the principles outlined in the council’s new approach to adult social care.
She welcomed the council’s plans to increase prevention services and avoiding sending people to critical or residential care but warned it could take some initial investment.
Mrs Lawrence said: “Obviously we welcome any potential investment in prevention services for older people but there is an awful lot of work that needs to be done to prevent people from needing critical or substantial services.
“We would welcome any move in that direction, whether the county council has the up front funding to make that investment before they realise that saving is a moot point.”
Mrs Lawrence also welcome the fact that the council appeared to be engaging with service providers and users as it moved forward with the process.
She said: “I would say they have taken steps over the last few months to try and be a more listening organisation, which is obviously welcome but the proof of the pudding in all that is going to be whether the older person in the street is really starting to see any change in what is available for them.”
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