Support With Confidence - East Sussex County Council

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Project description

'Support With Confidence' and 'independent support planning and brokerage' are side-by-side services aimed at improving provision of information and advice for everyone who needs services, irrespective of their eligibility for public funding.

The 'Support With Confidence' scheme provides a list of providers of care and support services who have been approved and have undergone appropriate training and background checks. It is run by East Sussex County Council Trading Standards and Adult Social Care. It has been operating since October 2010.

'Independent support planning & brokerage' is an approved framework of independent support planning providers, comprising a variety of individuals and voluntary and independent organisations. It was set up in April 2010, after brokerage functions had been mapped across different areas of need and initially 20 independent support planning providers were approved. This later reduced to 6, after pilot evaluation, as this was adequate to meet demand.

Who is the service for?

Services are accessible to adults living in East Sussex or caring for an adult who lives in East Sussex.

Intended outcomes

This project aims to enable people to gain maximum control over their own lives, retain dignity and respect, live safely and independently, have access to a range of quality services, participate as active and equal citizens and stay as healthy as possible.

The intended outcomes include information and advice for everyone who needs it and support for people to make decisions about their own care, who provides it and how it is delivered. The council also aims to ensure there is a variety of services available to meet people's needs, including early support services to help people maintain healthier lifestyles, and support for innovation and good practice.

Why is the service being developed?

These services were set up in response to the national personalisation agenda in adult social care, and to meet the local needs of people in East Sussex.

Were the people who use services and carers and other key stakeholders involved in setting up this service?

People who use services and carers were involved in setting up these services through specific development groups. An overarching Personalisation Advisory Group was also set up to enable people who use services and carers to influence the full range of service developments in relation to self-directed support and personalisation.

Other stakeholders including local businesses, voluntary and community sector organisations and health bodies have been involved as members of the project teams and ongoing development groups.

Has the service met the intended outcomes?

Both schemes have made an important contribution to strengthening the core offer of information and advice to help people find out what is available and to make the best use of resources.

Feedback on the 'Support With Confidence' scheme from 219 people who use the service has been very positive, with overall ratings of 4/5 out of 5. A recent survey of providers found that providers who are approved members of the scheme value the support it provides, as well as the ideas it offers around business planning, marketing and service diversification to ensure that services meet the needs of people who use them.

During the initial pilot of the 'independent support planning & brokerage' scheme, 32 people successfully developed support plans with eight independent organisations. In addition, some people were referred to the service but were not seen by an independent support planner; some developed support plans but the new support package was not implemented, and several were seen by an independent support planner but did not go on to complete a support plan.

Do you have information on costs or savings?

'Support With Confidence': The initial project set-up budget was calculated at £90k (paid for through the Social Care Reform Grant) and was underspent by £9k, The current operational budget is £89k, inclusive of three members of staff. Providers pay an application fee to be considered for the approved list.

'Independent support planning & brokerage': The initial fee paid to providers was £315 per approved support plan. Since the evaluation of the service, the council has paid an hourly rate of £15 per hour instead. This payment will in future be linked to the RAS figure, but still free to the person using the service.

What were the learning points in setting up this service?

  • Independent support planning appears most effective for people who already use services, who have stable, long-term care and support needs
  • It appeals most to working age adults with a physical disability or sensory impairment, and people with a learning disability
  • It is essential to draw clear boundaries between independent advocacy services and the independent support planning role.

Contact details

Bianca Byrne
Service Development Manager, East Sussex County Council
Telephone: 01273 336656