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Staff and care users given control of social care

Frontline social care workers will be given more flexibility to work with the people they support, as part of a Government initiative to be piloted by six local authorities including Lambeth.

The Social Work Practice Pilots are organisations that are led by social workers but independent of local authorities. They will provide the social work services for specific groups of adults in their community and their carers. The pilot aims to encourage joint working across health and social care and making personalised care a reality. The pilot will be introduced in Lambeth over the summer for two years, subject to Parliamentary approval.

It will help shape Lambeth’s vision to become a cooperative borough and will help to develop new ways of delivering services through social enterprise. It has been backed by more than £1million of Department of Health funding, and will reduce bureaucracy which will allow social workers to spend more time with those in their care.

The scheme offers the potential to improve the lives of those receiving support by offering them stability. It will also enable social workers to:

  • Take decisions closer to those in care, leading to a more responsive service.
  • Feel empowered with more control over the day to day management of the practice.
  • Enjoy their jobs more – staff satisfaction levels in the children’s Social Work Practice pilots have been high as staff feel empowered and part of the decision-making team.
  • Build stronger links across communities and improve integration between health and social care.

The projects focus on different Adult and Social Care service users, and will run in Lambeth, Birmingham, North East Lincolnshire, Shropshire, Suffolk, and Surrey. In Lambeth the pilot will focus on all adults who fund their own care.

Jo Cleary, Executive Director of Adults & Community Services is the national workforce lead for the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, which has developed the programme of pilots with the Department of Health. She said:

“Our vision is of a social-worker led team offering early intervention to people with lower level need who usually would not have the support from statutory adult social care. By advising people who are managing their own care needs, by reaching out to all parts of our community, and by helping people keep themselves safe from harm and independent, we will work in partnerships with local people in innovative and creative ways right from their first contact. This will build on the success of our work developing more personalised care for people living in Lambeth.”

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