Working with decreasing resources has long been the reality for social care providers. Increasing cost pressures; decreasing available resource and projected increase in demand (and potentially in expectation) from supported people are creating a perfect storm of financial pressure. Contracting authorities, Scottish Government and providers are considering a range of ways to tackle this pressure including:
- Assets based: seeks to improve social work conversations and change the focus from deficits to assets. Financially seeks to leverage in community, family and personal resources (at low, or no cost) to the state alongside paid- for support. While this approach can improve outcomes for supported people; where it is driven primarily by savings it can deny the individual their right to support or place an inappropriate expectation on families and communities to meet need.
- Rights based: takes the focus from resource and on to the rights of the person to have their needs met.
- Push the hourly rate price down: This approach effectively decouples the cost of care (wages, on- costs, overheads, training, registration, management etc.)from the price paid.
- Put more money into the system: a more political, Scotland- wide argument that seeks to change Scotland’s taxation system and budget priorities to put more money into the system.
- Innovate/change service models: A popular solution at the strategic level this recognises that some provider business models and service offers need to change to meet changing needs and expectations.
- Decouple hourly rates from individual budgets: Using Self-directed Support as a starting point this approach uses existing individual budgets (under Options 1 or 2 of the Act) and asks providers, supported people and social workers to work out how this budget can meet a person’s needs flexibly and within their existing entitlement. Although this also risks decoupling of price from cost it does give increased freedom through a decrease in service specification and monitoring and a focus on outcomes.
There is growing recognition that doing ‘more with less’ is no longer possible and the beginnings of shift in intention towards more collaborative approaches. To explore this in more detail we have brought together a group of providers, commissioners and policy intermediaries to co-design a series of free workshops/events for 2016. More information, resources and booking here.