Hft welcomes new Accelerating Reform Fund but calls on Government to clarify social care will have a ‘place at the table’
The new Accelerating Reform Fund, announced by Government, will support adult social care providers to trial new models of care to deliver better quality and more person-centred support.
Kirsty Matthews, CEO of learning disability charity Hft, welcomed the announcement of the Fund and the opportunities it presents, but acknowledged that at present most innovation in adult social care takes place out of necessity.
“Hft’s vision for the future is to support learning disabled people to explore all the opportunities in life so they can realise their potential and thrive. We want to enable choice and control at every stage of life and to support people in our care to access opportunities in thriving communities.
“We want to do this by providing better integration into the community and cover a broader range of life opportunities, including work opportunities. To achieve this, we are implementing a new ‘On Your Doorstep’ model which is already active in one of our services in Shropshire,” Ms Matthews explains.
Another innovation from Hft is a redevelopment of its site in Ironbridge, Telford, which will see the building of 80 new homes, 12 of which will become accessible and adaptable supported living dwellings for people supported by Hft This will not only enable greater independence in their everyday lives, but will also integrate them into their local neighbourhood.
“These new supported living, accessible homes are in tune with our future strategic aims where we will work in partnership with learning disabled people to live where and how they choose within their local communities.
“Adult social care providers should be able to innovate under more positive circumstances as a matter of course but, in many cases, providers have to innovate due to difficult cirucmstances, usually in response to financial pressures.
“I can attest to the fact that providers across social care are always innovating, but unfortunately this is usually in response to funding pressures,” she explains.
“Indeed, our Sector Pulse Check research, published in partnership with Care England, found that in order to save money last year, almost two thirds of providers implemented new strategies to grow income.
“Financial pressures are often so great that even where cost saving innovations have been implemented, providers are forced to take more drastic action to remain sustainable. For example, last year, 42% of adult social care providers were forced to close part of their organisation or hand back services.
“I hope that, in the future, our sector operates in a more stable environment which fosters healthy innovation, allowing providers to confidently trial and test new models of care for the future benefit of learning disabled adults and our staff.
“While this new funding is an opportunity, it is imperative that adult social care providers and those who draw on the sector can genuinely contribute to, and reap the benefits of, the innovations funded. We hope the Government takes steps to clarify how we, and those we support, can take a place at the table.”