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Social care consultation
Date of article: 07-Sep-10
Article By: Liverpool City Council
Consultation on the transformation of social care in Liverpool is moving forward with the creation of an independent group to make sure the plans reflect the views of people who receive services.
In June, the city council announced proposals for a major shift in emphasis in the way services are delivered - focused on meeting people's individual needs, rather than having to choose from a fixed menu of social care services.
It follows the introduction of "Putting People First", a government initiative which has already led to a huge number of people opting to use direct payments to choose the care they receive, leading to a huge drop in demand for in-house services such as day centres.
A major consultation event is being held at St George's Hall on Wednesday, 8 September, giving service users, carers, families and other people interested in adult social care services the opportunity to have their say.
It will include a series of discussions about what people would want from a new service, how it should be delivered and what buildings are needed.
People will be invited to nominate themselves for a place on the Independent Group, which will co-ordinate and deliver future consultation events, communicate the outcome of discussions and oversee the commissioning of an independent evaluation of the process.
Councillor Roz Gladden, Cabinet member for adult health and social care said: "What we are proposing is a really big change that will completely transform the way in which people access and receive care in Liverpool, and that is why we really want those affected to let us know what they think and be involved.
"We completely understand that people will be nervous and anxious about it, but we are committed to working closely with them during the consultation process and beyond to explain exactly what it will mean for them.
"This Independent Group will have no representation from the city council on it and that is because we want to give people confidence that the process is as open and transparent as possible."
Under the new-look service, 12 day centres and three residential care homes will be amalgamated to become six new "Health and Wellbeing Supercentres" in neighbourhoods across the city.
Three would provide round-the-clock emergency response services, while the remainder would provide intensive health and social care support for people leaving care and those with complex needs, as well as a range of community services.
The council has already approved plans to invest £1.5 million in the first wave of the new Health and Wellbeing Centres. Sedgemoor Care Home in Norris Green will become a round-the-clock unit and Lime Court Day Centre in Kensington will be a community hub, open 12 hours per day, seven days a week.
Draft plans following the discussions will be drawn up in January and the consultation programme will be completed next March. However, communication will continue through the three years it will take to deliver all of the changes.
Director for Children, Family and Adult Services, Stuart Smith, said: "Doing nothing is not an option and the changes we are planning are accelerating a process which is actually already underway.
"People are already voting with their feet and the demand for our traditional services has been shrinking for several years.
"We simply must respond to that and change the way we operate, to deliver the type of services our residents want."
Overall, it is expected there will be a significant increase in the number of people being supported.