I’m really pleased that a new report authored by the British Red Cross has recognised the work that is going on in Reading to help people stay out of care.
There’s more to do on this and my big concern is how we’ll be able to keep focused on supporting people to live good lives when the government is continuing to cut budgets – but in some ways it’s more important than ever.
I received a letter from them outlining their main policy recommendations for government and they copied in the two Conservative members of Parliament for the area, and I hope they take note and I am more than happy to meet with either of them to discuss it further.
Letter below and full report here: www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Advocacy/Health-and-social-care/Prevention-in-action-is-it-being-prioritised
Dear Councillor Eden
Please find attached a copy of the British Red Cross Prevention in Action report.
We wanted to thank you for your helpful response to our recent FOI request regarding how Reading Council is implementing Section 2 of the Care Act. We also wanted to congratulate you on the progressive steps you are taking to meet the new preventative duty of the Act, in the face of significant financial pressures.
As outlined in the report, we welcome the decision of Reading Council not to exercise the charging powers bestowed on local authorities for preventative services in the Care Act 2014 on the basis that this could act as a disincentive to uptake, representing a false economy. The report calls on other local authorities to make the same consideration and not to charge if they believe it would indeed act as a disincentive. We firmly believe that your consultative model is one to be followed in order to ensure that the Care Act’s new prevention duty is fully implemented.
Unfortunately, we have found that such best practice is not consistently mirrored with other local authorities. While the report welcomes the fact that prevention is an increasingly evident consideration in local strategies and plans, we are concerned that many local authorities continue to focus on preventative initiatives that have been seed-funded by Government over the last ten to fifteen years.
Our report has found that the plans of local authorities need to be more progressive, as your local authority has been, to meet the preventative needs of their local populations. However FOI responses from councils have made it clear that there are practical difficulties in shifting resources away from crisis intervention to prevention, given the current economic climate.
This report is intended to help decision makers make this transition, despite these challenges, by providing a national picture of local developments, and highlighting areas of good practice. At the same time, it urges the Government to look again at what resources are required to enable local authorities to implement these new duties in a meaningful way.
Congratulations once again for your measures, which we believe will ensure that fewer people fall into a social care crisis.
With best wishes,
Policy and Advocacy Officer
Senior Service Manager – Independent Living
Council press release:
READING Borough Council’s approach to preventative care has been praised as progressive in a report published by the British Red Cross.
The report, Prevention in Action, suggests that the majority of local authorities must do more to provide services which prevent, reduce or delay the need for care and support.
Whilst the Care Act from April 2015 placed a new duty on councils to make sure preventative services were available locally, almost one year on, Red Cross research discovered that the Care Act’s vision for prevention is not being fully realised.
Reading, however, represents one of the few local authorities ahead of the game in this area and the council has one of only 12 out of 151 joint Health and Wellbeing strategies that are using the official, full definition of prevention as the basis of its preventative planning.
The Red Cross lamented the fact that Reading’s best practice is not consistently mirrored wisely within other local authorities.
In a letter to Cllr Rachel Eden, Reading’s Lead for Adult Social Care, the British Red Cross congratulated Reading on the “progressive steps you are taking to meet the new preventative duty of the Act, in the face of significant financial pressures,” and finished by saying “Congratulations once again for your measures, which we believe will ensure that fewer people fall into a social care crisis.”
Cllr Eden, said: “I’m proud that the work we’ve been striving towards in wellbeing for Reading residents is being acknowledged as an example of good practice on a national level by such a prominent organisation.
“In the face of mounting budget pressures and short sighted cuts from national government, coupled with increased service demands, we will continue with this best practice approach as far as we are able. Our priority is for residents affected by care and support needs to access early help and enjoy healthy and fulfilling lives.”
The full British Red Cross report is available here www.redcross.org.uk/About-us/Advocacy/Health-and-social-care/Prevention-in-action-is-it-being-prioritised