Church Street Councillor Vincenzo Rampulla outlined the impact of the Care Act for Westminster residents and the challenges for the Council, at last night’s Council meeting. He said:
“The Care Act is an important piece of legislation – an overhaul for social care in this country and recognition of the gap between the needs that exist in places like Westminster and across the country compared to those needs being met.
Whilst the Act is a positive thing, how it is implemented will be what matters most. How that is approached by councils like Westminster is critical and therefore the Leader and Cabinet Member have very important roles instilling the right culture behind that approach.
Transparency, Openness, Honesty, Candour – these are words writ large in the legislation; they should underpin the council’s approach to implementation.
I have to agree with Richard Humphries, of the King’s Fund: “more of the same is not the answer.” We need to see some genuine innovation and smart thinking.
It comes down to confidence and I’m worried that just last month the LGA found none of the politicians responsible for adult social care in Westminster were ‘very confident’ about implementation within the council.
The Mum test
The Chief Inspector for Adult Social Care repeated talks about the importance of quality within services, specially do they meet the following criteria:
• Are they safe
• Are they effective
• Are they caring
• Are they responsive
• Are they well-led
Brought together this amounts to a question that informs whether she thinks it is good enough – the Mum’s test. Would you be satisfied with this service if it is was your mum, or loved one, or even if it was you.
Question1: If the Cabinet member is not using these principles to judge the quality of the services the council now needs to provide, if she doesn’t think the Mum’s test is right – then what principles will they be using?
One of the provisions with the Act is the creation of a minimum national threshold of eligibility for services. This is welcome because dignity should not be down to a matter of opinion.
There are 10 outcomes as part of the threshold and maintaining personal hygiene is the second outcome. I mention it because myself and ward colleagues, Councillor Graeme and Councillor Toki, have for months being trying to get to the bottom of what the council is actually doing on shower adaptations.
There are many older people in Church Street waiting and waiting and waiting for the chance to wash themselves without fear of falling. The council says that the longest you should have to wait is 12-weeks but has, so far, not been able to back up that claim.
How long would the Cabinet member think it is right for a resident for a shower? And how does she relate this to the JSNA’s findings that Westminster fairs worse than London for injuries because of falls?
Since the introduction of the minimum threshold won’t allow the council to hide behind a judgement that it doesn’t think you (the resident) deserve support.
Question 2: How many more people in Westminster does the Council think will need access to services and provision given the Government’s new national eligibility threshold? Will the council support a ‘no one left behind’ commitment and work towards it.
In committee officers have rightly highlighted the reality that this agenda means that different parts of the council need to work more effectively together.
How Council directorates working together on an ongoing basis to resolve the complex issues around seems to be a harder question to answer. They need to identify:
• What is already available to those needing care in Westminster
• How the council is going to identify unmet need, both locally and across Westminster
• Developing comprehensive information and accessible advice across all aspects of health and wellbeing
Question 3: At the moment housing is one of the things Westminster residents worry most about. How is the Cabinet Member going to ensure housing doesn’t become the black mark against the Council’s implementation scorecard? When will that strategy come to members and what are the principles that the Cabinet member wants that strategy to be judged against?