Consultation on county adult care begins

Lincolnshire County Council has begun a 90-day consultation over potential changes to the way the authority provides its adult social care services.

Service users, carers and staff are being asked their views on whether personal budgets proposals would help deliver better services and generate savings.

County Councillor Graham Marsh said more people are moving on to personal budgets and spending them on things tailored to their individual needs.

Almost 7,000 people are on personal budgets in Lincolnshire, and the council wants the rest of the 23,000 service users to change to the new system by April 2013.

“We need to urgently review how we deliver our own directly provided services, as they are becoming less cost-efficient,” Marsh said.

“This needs to happen in a market where service users are the discerning customer, not a block-purchasing local authority.

“Our current model of bulk-buying services means we’re effectively double-funding some and paying for some that people don’t want or use.

“We need to spend taxpayers’ money better and more equitably, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The consultation reviews the future of the council’s supported living services, day care, 24-hour support and day services for people with learning and physical disabilities, and older people.

Also included is the future of short breaks facilities at Swallow Lodge in Lincoln and Cedar House in Spalding.

“I can assure everyone that all views will be thoroughly considered and nothing will be done until we are clear that alternatives are in place,” Marsh added.

“Whilst we currently have no firm proposals, it would be dishonest not to accept that there may be considerable change and it may affect a number of staff’s employment status.”

Plans to outsource adult care services, putting some 285 jobs at risk, were condemned by public service trade union UNISON.

Source: Lincolnshire County Council