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By Debbie le Quesne

Care and support reforms: Help now online

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There are some things I don’t want to read because they’re often long, boring and complex. But, if I’m to carry out my job effectively, I have to grasp the nettle – over and over again, it seems – and catch up on the Government’s care and support reforms.

The Care Bill issues are both big and challenging, and the Local Government Association (LGA), Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and Department of Health (DH) are working in partnership to support local areas in implementation.

Like these useful bodies, the WMCA is also playing its part to roll out the reforms. I was thrilled to find extra help with this at a new monthly care bulletin – www.local.gov.uk/care-support-reform

Its aim is to provide leaders of local health and care systems and those delivering local health and care services with relevant and timely information about the process of implementing the care and support reforms, and the support, guidance and tools available.

It’s an invaluable time-saving service and I would strongly recommend using it to play ‘catch-up’. For me it saves hours of internet searches and of paperwork scavenging.

Policy delivery through people in the private care sector is hugely challenging at a time when there is little of no money to make it happen, so it will be interesting to see what support mechanics emerge in this service.

A joint Care and Support Reform Programme Board has been set up with representation from:

•ADASS

•Care Provider Alliance

•Care Quality Commission

•Homes and Communities Agency

•LGA

•National Skills Academy for Social Care

•National Institute for Clinical Excellence

•Skills for Care

•Social Care Institute for Excellence

•Local and central government.

Through the board, according to their media release, “the Care and Support Transformation Group and regional networks we will ensure co-production and engagement with all partners continues to happen at a national, regional and local level.”

The fine print of these aims is conjecture it seems but the targets are indeed laudable.

A National Care Association bulletin reports the group’s aims and I quote: ”The care and support reforms aim to improve the experience of people needing care and support. We are very aware that this programme joins an already challenging set of changes in health and are making great demands on health and wellbeing boards, local government and its partners.

“We intend to build on the work of local areas in transforming adult social care and integrating social care with health services. We will ensure the links between care and support reform and, for example, the Better Care Fund are clear and helpful.”

It goes on to commit to sharing tools of emerging practice, to offer support and urges people to subscribe to this bulletin by emailing carebillreform@local.gov.uk.

Good stuff indeed as we say goodbye to 2013. I can only hope this initiative has some good funding sources for 2014 as I’m sure they’ll need it.

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