Here on the Isle of Wight, we are now nearly two years into our strategy “Care Close to Home”. The results have been impressive and include: a 68 per cent reduction in the rate of permanent admissions into care homes amongst our elders; run by a consortium of voluntary and community organisations our Living Well Service has resulted in only 3 per cent of people being re-referred into Adult Social Care; a quadrupling in size of our home based reablement offer with over two thirds of people needing no onward care and support; and over two thirds of frontline colleagues and managers reporting that morale and engagement is good or very good. Our commissioning approach has been written up as an exemplar of good practice in terms of how we have engaged partners – while our “Raising Standards” initiative (a free development programme for all Registered Managers on the Island) has seen more than 60 per cent of services improve their CQC rating when re-inspected subsequent to the completion of the programme.
We are obsessed with how we can best use the strengths of those we serve in designing their care and support – supporting people to maintain the maximum level of independence possible. We are blessed with a vibrant and expert voluntary and community sector – and involve them as equal partners – to help us in this area.
Of course, integration with health is a key priority – and being surrounded by water means that we really have to invest in making relationships and care pathways work effectively – as our residents cannot easily go elsewhere. Our Integrated Locality Services work effectively in avoiding “admission” (be that hospital or care home) – and we will grow them. Equally, we are integrating with health our care management offer in the areas of mental health and learning disabilities – and the plan is also to fully integrate budgets. Our CCG will be commissioning us to deliver a single service for continuing health care and we are in the process of joining up our respective rehabilitation and reablement offers.
Since 1 December 2018, our department includes all housing needs services – including homelessness. So we are also looking at how to integrate internally - implementing new pathways straddling previously entirely separate services.
We have successfully gripped our budget over the past two years – with no overspend in both 2017/18 and 2018/19 we ended the years with a balanced budget and achieved net revenue savings of 7.2 per cent and 7.8 per cent respectively.
Very importantly, we have invested heavily in our workforce over the last two years – filling gaps in our previous learning and development offer and ensuring that we support colleagues to keep abreast of best practice from elsewhere and research findings by our active membership of Research in Practice for Adults. We are strengthening our care management functions and have appointed a new Principal Social Worker and additional Service Manager.
Isle of Wight Council staff and services have received national recognition after being shortlisted in this year’s Municipal Journal Achievement Awards. The Isle of Wight Council is the only authority out of over 400 across the country to be shortlisted for five awards, Dr Carol Tozer being one of them for Corporate Director of the Year
But we are nowhere near finished yet. We need social care professionals to join us who are as ambitious about the outcomes delivered to those we serve, as they are about their own career development – because we see the two as intrinsically intertwined. Yes, the Isle of Wight is a beautiful island with a world class outdoor lifestyle and properties within a variety of stunning locations to suit all – and I have loved living here since I joined in December 2016. However, be under no illusion, this is all just an added bonus: we are no backwater of professional ambition and are delivering at pace. We are only just warming up and we need hard working, ambitious people like you to join us.
Dr Carol Tozer
Director of Adult Social Services