Health and social care award - Hertfordshire CC
Hertfordshire’s innovative approach to adult social care - focusing resources to deliver the best possible outcomes for residents, promoting independence, personalisation and early intervention, while maintaining high levels of service user satisfaction - impressed the judges.
At this time of financial challenge, Hertfordshire has three priorities for improving the lives of people who use adult care services, their carers and the wider community:
- ensuring people are confident citizens
- enabling people to be independent through early intervention
- personalising care and support
The council’s three-stage approach involves:
- good information and advice
- prevention and enabling in its widest sense
- eligible support needs delivered through personal budgets.
Hertfordshire is using bold initiatives to make its aims a reality - enablement services, self-directed support and an online service to enable family carers in need of a break to go online and book a carer direct are key.
The first objective, working with partners, is to catch problems early so that the need to solve these later does not arise. When people do fall ill, have an accident or need support the priority is to work towards full recovery. Hertfordshire arranges services in a way that seeks to rebuild confidence and the capacity to cope quickly as people recover, supporting people back into their homes after a spell at hospital after illness or injury.
Developing and extending personalised services to give people greater influence, choice and control is a priority. Being transparent with people about their budget and care costs and offering them choice means better use will be made of the available resources.
Hertfordshire carried out an evaluation of its personal budget system for adult care to find out how well it was working. The results were used to shape the development of self-directed support. Public information on the authority’s website was enhanced with DVD clips showing the positive aspects of personal budgets. Meanwhile, an e-learning package was developed to help council staff as well as staff at voluntary organisations understand and develop the skills required to provide individualised services.
Cllr Colette Wyatt-Lowe (Con), executive member for health and adult care, said: “By encouraging the take-up of personal budgets we get better outcomes for service users for less money. With new service users being supported through personal budgets rather than traditional services, annual savings of around £1m have been taken across the care groups, with further savings of about £500,000 programmed for people with learning and physical disabilities.”
Hertfordshire is already one year ahead of national targets with 50% of people using personal budgets and, as one of them, said: “It’s about living my life the way I want”.
The department is working with care providers to improve their efficiency and reduce its £75m annual bill for residential care of adults with learning and physical disabilities. In addition, the council entered a partnership with a home care provider to help people with poor physical and mental health learn the skills needed for daily living. As a result of the changes, efficiency savings of £14.4m were achieved with savings expected to rise to £35.6m in 2013-14.
Cllr Colette Wyatt-Lowe added: “Hertfordshire is working hard to make significant efficiencies without compromising on delivering good outcomes for our citizens.”
The judges’ view
Excellent whole system approach to the transformation of adult care – well-connected with partners, including health
Health and Social Care shortlist
- Havering LBC - Highly commended
- Kettering BC - highly commended
- Birmingham City Council
- Blackburn with Darwen BC
- Islington LBC
- Northamptonshire CC
- Wirral Council and NHS Wirral