Care Bill [Lords]

Written evidence submitted by Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) (CB 33)

About SCIE

The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) improves the lives of people who use care services by sharing knowledge about what works. We are an independent charity working with adults, families and children's social care and social work services across the UK. We also work closely with related services such as health care and housing.

We gather and analyse knowledge about what works and translate that knowledge into practical resources, learning materials and services including training and consultancy. Our work helps to improve the knowledge and skills of those working in care services. This includes managers, frontline staff, commissioners and trainers. People who use these services and their families also use our resources to make informed decisions about their care.

Summary

SCIE supports the Care Bill and its aim to establish a coherent and comprehensive piece of legislation that has the wellbeing of individuals at its heart.

We note the importance of ongoing implementation support for organisations and individuals across the sector and in allied sectors such as health and housing. This support should consist of a coordinated effort from the centre to ensure key bodies are clear about their duties under the new legislation and implementation is based on existing best practice.

Commissioning and Prevention

The Bill says little about the role of commissioning. Good commissioning practice such as strategic investment in micro-providers, user-led services and other innovative schemes is central to supporting the preventative agenda. Commissioners can also support transition for younger adults by working closely with providers across the children’s and adults service boundaries.

SCIE would welcome further clarity on the role of local authorities and NHS bodies as commissioners and ‘place shapers’; developing and investing in community capacity and supporting the effectiveness and availability of care provision in the local area in collaboration with people that use services, their carers, families and communities.

Integration

The provisions of the Bill alone will not overcome the organisational or cultural barriers to effective integrated working. Although the introduction of the ‘Better Care Fund’ is welcomed, it should not be seen as addressing the difficulties associated with joint working across health, social care and allied sectors.

This will rely upon local organisations working collaboratively within an agreed framework. The Research Briefing published by SCIE in 2012 on the factors that help or hinder integrated working highlighted that this requires:

· A shared vision and objectives

· Clear roles and responsibilities

· Excellent communication and effective information sharing

· Supportive leadership

· Establishing a culture of trust and respect.

These factors should form the basis of government support for implementing bodies in the shape of regulations or guidance.

Participation and Co-Production

The definition of co-production is still fluid , but it is the term that is gaining common currency as the default description of user, carer and citizen involvement in public services. The Co-production Critical Friends G roup, a cross sector network (which SCIE is a member of) has developed the following definition:

"Co-production is a relationship where professionals and citizens share power to plan and deliver support together, recognising that both have vital contributions to make in order to improve quality of life for people and communities."

SCIE welcome the focus of the Bill on the individual’s involvement in processes relating to them. However, we would welcome the inclusion of a duty to co-produce the commissioning cycle – the broader planning, implementation and evaluation of local authority and NHS interventions.

Commissioners and providers should be much more proactive in systematically building co- production in a variety of forms into service development , delivery and improvement, management and staff training and quality improvement systems. I t is vital that users of services are empowered to have more strategic control over the services they use, including t hrough user-led organisations if we are to see the development of a more responsive and personalised system of care and support.

February 2014

Prepared 5th February 2014