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Welfare Reform on the Web (December 2009): Social care - UK - community care

The emergence of the independent support broker role

S. Dowson and R. Greig

Journal of Integrated Care, vol. 17, Aug. 2009, p. 22-30

A key element in the personalisation of health and social care is the upfront allocation of a budget to older and disabled people which they can use to pay for the supports and services they need. The benefit of this arrangement in increasing user choice will not materialise unless recipients can either acquire or access the brokerage skills needed to plan and arrange their supports. The independent support broker is one important response to this need.

Personalisation: consumer power or social co-production

B. Sang

Journal of Integrated Care, vol.17, Aug. 2009, p. 31-38

The author argues that personalisation in social care, and hence user choice, is achieved through co-production and collective action, and not through the isolated consumerism that is the basis of some reformers' thinking. People with long-term conditions and disabilities need to deploy a core set of resources to attain worthwhile and productive living, including:

  • Peer learning and networking
  • Advocacy and information services (including brokerage)
  • Telecare and personal health record systems
  • Engagement in planning and design of services
  • Supported self-management and self-managed learning

The Supporting People programme

Communities and Local Government Committee

London: TSO, 2009 (House of Commons papers, session 2008/09: HC 649)

The Supporting People programme has been instrumental in supporting the needs of some of most vulnerable and socially excluded members of society and delivers savings to the Exchequer of 3.4 billion for a 1.6 billion investment per annum. The quality of partnership working under the regime-which has led to the creation of many innovative and person-centred services-is widely recognised, and is regarded as an excellent blueprint for future partnership working in many areas of local service delivery. Despite the many successes of the programme to date, a degree of uncertainty hangs over the future of Supporting People. Many of the issues highlighted in this report are compounded by witnesses' uncertainty about the future impact of changes to the funding regime. It is clear that transparency from local authorities about the way Supporting People services are funded, and a continued commitment by the Government to three-year funding settlements for local authorities, will continue to be critical in the future. The report considers how well the Government has delivered against its commitments in the 2007 Supporting People Strategy. We believe that progress has been good overall, although there are some areas in which more rapid progress, or greater clarification as to how objectives will be achieved, is needed. Two major issues stand out as requiring a much more immediate and concentrated focus: the burden of the competitive tendering regime for Supporting People services; and the lack of clarity as to the future of accommodation-based services for older people.

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