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By Debbie le Quesne

London: Pensions IT, safeguarding and commissioning

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I’m still trying to catch my breath from a busy schedule last week, which included a trip to London to meet delegates from care associations around the country.

These meetings are always enlightening and refreshingly non-political. No-one there has agenda to help run the country or get included on the latest honours list.

Sharing ideas and gaining new ones, helping each other, being generous with assistance and knowing that the meetings provides a powerful forum to measure losses and gains, the get-togethers are growing in popularity as we desperately try to support our members.

High on the agenda was how small Care Providers were going to manage the Pensions and the Government Computer Software.

Clearly a point of concern, the industry is well known for its high quality care delivery skills – something it has not managed to match with its IT knowledge.

Training opportunities countrywide were reviewed and again safeguarding issues took a wedge of time.

At our previous meeting we had spent a lot of time looking at safeguarding and trying to work out if the evidence is there to show that care providers who work on local authority fees actually tot up more referrals.

Plans are afoot to take this research further once the new legislation for Adult Safeguarding Boards becomes live in April.

Currently information about referrals is still sketchy, so this challenge will be addressed at the next meeting and information gathering mechanics established.

We also discussed tendering and challenged the wisdom of authorities to use this as a way of commissioning care. There was universal agreement that it cost the public a lot of money and did not necessarily lead to the selection of the best providers.

Generally, it was thought none of the local authority approaches to commissioning had been that successful.

Having gone through a full agenda in London, all representatives left with their own lists of jobs to do – some with group responsibilities and others with commitments for their own membership. A really worthwhile day!

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