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Social Care delivering social and welfare reform 19 February 2013

Summary

  • £5m savings over past three years, including reducing senior management posts by 4 and over 20 back office posts to protect front-line services
  • But with growing demand maintaining current services and benefits would cost an extra £10m every year
  • Department will target funds to protect the vulnerable
  • Department will focus on commissioning services rather than providing them
  • Home Care service to be outsourced, and in future moving to commissioning residential services
  • Not for profit ‘Social enterprises’ will be established to provide services and as a stepping stone to get the long-term unemployed back into work
  • A revised first-time buyers housing scheme will target support
  • Public sector housing rents will be means tested from April 2015
  • Child benefit will be means tested from April 2014

The Minister for Social Care has today outlined details of how the Department will be developing and delivering social and welfare reform in 2013 and beyond.

The Minister for Social Care, Chris Robertshaw MHK said:

'Over the past three years the Department of Social Care has made savings of over £5m including; removing 5 senior management, and over 20 back office posts, to allow us to protect front line service staff and the services we deliver to the most vulnerable in our community. However to maintain current services and benefits due to growing demand would require an estimated additional £10m annually demonstrating that my Department needed to review our welfare system and change the way we provide services to contain that cost acceleration. Following a successful public consultation, which gathered public opinion on the principles to underpin any reform, we are now carrying out a comprehensive review of the services we provide and how we provide them.'

The Minister added:

'Alongside the work my Department has undertaken, as a Government there has been a fundamental shift in the proposed size and shape of future government in the last twelve months. In line with the Agenda for Change document our focus as a Department in the future will be on the commissioning of services not necessarily their direct provision. In order to deliver this we have to assess what the true needs of local people are, rather than continuing to provide as we always have. Traditionally on the Island we have assumed that Government services are best but this is not always the case. Sometimes there are other organisations that provide better services than the Government, at better value for money. Where this is the case, they should provide and Government should step back. Remaining Government services will be provided to those with the most complex needs, and Government’s role will focus on commissioning, strategic direction and regulation. Any commissioning of services will focus on safe, consistent and value for money services which meet assessed need, and protect the vulnerable. We will actively encourage the development of social enterprise, not for profit organisations, which will emerge through the development of the mixed social care market. We will lay out our proposals in a five year commissioning framework which will indicate the priorities for commissioning, and the process for developing our detailed proposals.'

The Department of Social Care’s policies for 2013/14 and beyond are detailed below

Adult Services

In 2012-13 DSC embarked on a transformation programme in adult services to change the way we:

  • Assess the needs of adults
  • Apply access criteria for services
  • Provide services
  • How/who we charge for the services

To date we have made the following changes:

  • Initiated the process to close Glenside residential home in 2012 which will be completed by the 31st March 2013
  • Reayrt Skyal, the new resource centre for elderly people in the North of the Island, is currently recruiting to posts and will open as soon as staff are in place
  • Surby Unit in Southlands has opened

In 2013-14 and onwards the Department will:

  • Invest in more home care and re-ablement services, providing more supported and independent living accommodation, more respite care and day services allowing people to remain as self sufficient as possible
  • Outsource our homecare service to a social enterprise and in future years move to commission residential services rather than direct provision
  • Introduce a fair and transparent charging system for services provided, and those who can afford to pay will be expected to across the whole range of adult services

Housing

In 2012 a housing review was carried out by DSC’s housing division to determine what the Island’s housing needs would be in the future and how these needs could be met.

The review determined that:

  • Current assistance to first time buyers is extremely generous and we will be bringing forward a revised scheme in 2013-14 that targets the funds to those who have a genuine need of assistance
  • Public sector rents are still too low and access to public sector housing difficult for those who cannot afford to rent/buy in the private sector. This is because past governments have never considered tackling the problem of tenants paying a rent based on income or moving on to buying their own home when their incomes increase and tenants consider that once in a public sector house it is theirs for life
  • That the current structure of public sector housing delivery is not a viable and, to get efficient costs effective services to tenants, a new management structure is needed
  • The changing demographics on the Island will have implications for future housing policy. Our public sector housing stock is mainly made up of family homes but our waiting lists show a need for an increase in smaller 1 or 2 person units. With everyone living longer we have a need for more elderly persons units and units for older people with extra care needs so that they can stay in their own homes and communities longer

In 2013-14 and onwards the Department will:

  • Introduce two year fixed term tenancies for all new public sector tenants
  • Determine a revised rent structure for implementation from 1 April 2014 with means testing of rents being introduced from 1 April 2015
  • Work with the other housing authorities to determine a more efficient and cost effective structure to manage the Islands public sector housing stock
  • Establish a new housing provision policy to meet the changing demographics on the Island

Social Security

The social policy debate consultation highlighted key areas of our welfare system which need to be reformed. To date we have made the following changes:

  • Revised Income Support Premiums
  • Reviewed the conditions under which lone parents can claim income support and developed proposals which will go before Tynwald in March 2013
  • Carried out a 6-month trial of a new process for assessing a person’s capability for work, in relation to entitlement to incapacity-related social security benefits

In 2013-14 and onwards the Department will:

  • Introduce means testing for Child Benefit from April 2014
  • Establish social enterprises as a stepping stone to get the long term unemployed back into a work environment whilst maintaining financial support.
  • Introduce Employment Support Allowance to replace incapacity benefit
  • Increase contributory benefits i.e. state pensions, which fall under the reciprocal agreement with the UK, by 2.5%
  • Increase working age benefits such as Employed Persons Allowance and Job Seekers Allowance by 1%, again in line with the UK, with disability benefits being increased by IOM CPI of 1.8%

Children and families

The Department will continue to ensure vulnerable children and families receive the support they need. The transformation programme started in 2010 is nearing its end and important improvements have been made. In particular the multi-agency approach, with both other Government Departments and our third sector partners, to provide support and care to those children and families that need it has made a significant difference. A planned independent inspection of children’s services in June 2013 will demonstrate to Tynwald and the public the progress we have all made and show areas where further improvement can be made.

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