Social care - Suffolk must do better

STILL reeling from receiving just a one star rating for social care, Suffolk county councillors are set to order an urgent overhaul to its services.The shake-up will cover children in care, people with disabilities, older people and those suffering from mental health problems.

By Graham Dines

STILL reeling from receiving just a one star rating for social care, Suffolk county councillors are set to order an urgent overhaul to its services.

The shake-up will cover children in care, people with disabilities, older people and those suffering from mental health problems. A revamp of the way money is spent will enable the county to employ more social workers.

The moves are in response to criticisms levied against the county council during its review by the national Social Services Inspectorate, which awarded Suffolk one star whereas top rated authorities scored three stars.


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A report to be presented to the authority's ruling executive committee, compiled in co-operation with the county's five primary care trusts and the acute hospital trusts, promises to provide "close and seamless" working to strengthen support for front-line staff and better commissioning of services from independent providers by a smaller core of central staff.

Joint teams of NHS and social care staff will see social workers aligned with GP surgeries in Waveney, joint teams in the same buildings in Saxmundham and Sudbury, and joint working between the primary care trust and the county council in Ipswich.

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The report from Anthony Douglas, director of social care and health for the county council, says: "Care services must be commissioned more effectively, whether from in-house providers or from the voluntary or independent sectors.

"More money will be spent on services bought from independent providers who currently provide roughly half the services. This will be more cost effective and will allow us to invest in more social workers.

"It is proposed to integrate the vast majority of management posts for adult care services with NHS trusts, especially PCTs."

To help give a greater range of support for both children in care and people with disabilities, the services will be re-defined as core council services, not just part of social care.

Tony Lewis, the council's portfolio holder for children and young people, said: "People want a services that is of a high standard and that is provided as quickly as possible – and they don't much care which agency provides that."

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