Social Services cater to a very wide range of client groups, and not surprisingly, different groups have different needs. One of our challenges is to make sure that we respond in a way that is appropriate, to each and every case we are presented with. Sometimes this means using our “in house” services, and other times, it may be more appropriate for people to access a service provided by a private agency or voluntary or charity organisation. Either way, through our commissioning activities we’re trying to ensure that the right mix of services is available.
One area where this has been particularly effective is in the area of resettlement.
Repatriation / resettlement group
Conwy Learning Disability Service has always worked to ensure that people placed out of county have opportunities to return to live closer to home. However the Winterbourne View report highlighted areas for improvement for the service. Although Conwy were satisfied that we were in regular contact and carefully monitored placements we could not say confidently that we were proactive in planning for the future of all our out of county placed service users.
Conwy identified the need for an Out of County Placement policy. This included the need for active involvement of a Social Worker, with an absolute minimum requirement of two visits per annum, one of which would be the annual statutory review. The policy states that practitioners must devote time to develop professional relationships with the service user, their families, other members of the MDT and the placement team. The assessment and care plan must be outcome focused, take account of plans for the future, including a progression plan formulated with the service user.
What difference has it made?
Individuals placed out of county are now a priority for accommodation in Conwy and their needs are considered on a regular basis via the monthly operational accommodation meeting.
As a result of this we have already enabled a service user with profound physical and learning disabilities who had been placed in a Nursing Home in Denbighshire for the past 10 years to move to her own shared supported living tenancy in Conwy. Throughout her time at the Nursing Home although she had an annual review this was a routine process rather than an active planning process. She was settled, she appeared happy, her needs were being met, therefore she was not a priority. The success of her move and the difference it has made to her life and to her family have demonstrated how important it is that each person has a future plan in place.
There are a small group of individuals from North Wales for whom it would be difficult for one authority to develop appropriate supported living options for, independently of the other authorities and Health. In 2013, again as a response to the Winterbourne View abuse scandal in South Gloucestershire, the 6 North Wales authorities and the BCUHB set up the North Wales Regional Repatriation / Resettlement Project. The group has completed a mapping exercise to identify who and where the people are, why they are placed and what plans are already in place to return to their local areas. Towards the end of last year the Welsh Government requested this information as part of the work being completed by the Learning Disability Advisory Group Subgroup, Transforming Care in Wales for people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour.
In order to move forward with the work of the NWRR Board the North Wales SS Improvement Collaborative has identified funding through the regional Collaboration Fund ‘ New Service Models’ project to provide some project management time to the NWRR Board. A small group of individuals with project management time are currently preparing a project brief to be presented at the North Wales Learning Disability Partnership. This brief will provide an outline proposal to pilot a regionally / jointly commissioned (all 6 LA’s plus BCUHB) supported living project for a small group of individuals with very complex needs.
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