I have been a user of the welfare state and social care most of my life as well as being involved in its development in one way or another from many perspectives, and this has provided me an broad insight to its strengths and weaknesses, and how it could be developed for the benefit of everyone, providing a system suitable for the 21st Century.
This is why I am please and proud to launch "Achieve Support", my contribution to the welfare and social care debates for disabled and older people. This report is my ideas for a single assistance and support assessment and allocation system and process to replace many of the existing funding streams aimed at supporting disabled and older people.
I believe there are too many schemes supporting disabled and older people, each with conflicting agendas, different assessment and eligibility rules, and cultural norms. This makes navigating the current range of assistance and support very complex and often stressful for everyone involved. A simple example of this is that the funding of my social care comes from 4 different pots of money, all of which have their own assessment regime, despite being used for a single purpose.
This is why I am proposing a new single system and process, overseen by a new national body, Support England, and delivered locally by local Support bodies. In examining how many of the existing systems work, and more importantly, failed to work, I realised this system had to be delivered locally, but built upon national standards. I saw how welfare benefits like ESA were being assessed too far from the claimant for there to be any trust or compassion. I also saw how many service users distrust local authorities in delivering social care because of the lack of any national framework.
The aim of what I am proposing is to provide a system where disabled and older people receive precisely what they need, based on their outcomes, related to their impairment related needs in a manner that is not label based. It will be a complex system to implement since it will require lots of new thinking and a major shift of culture for many professionals, as well as disabled and older people.
I want this system and process to succeed, and hopefully adopted by government after the election, because I think by being clear, accurate and firm on the small details, this is maybe the best hope we have to get the issue of assistance and support absolutely correct for a generation. I believe in ensuring disabled and older people, as well as other stakeholders, are actively involved in co-producing the system and process from the absolute beginning to ensure that they feel included and on-board, and that all their concerns are considered.
My report is aimed to be a starting point for discussion although I have looked at some of the fine details of how the system could work because I believe this is an implemented policy can be successful or disastrous solely based on the small details. I also believe that to achieve the system and process in the way I would like, to provide the cost efficiencies possible while maintaining it does not lose its commitment to being person-centred, in the way recent policies like personalisation have, will require great and strong leadership, and I am prepared to put my hat in the ring when it comes to that.
So I hope you will take an opportunity to read my report and to engage in the discussion that is the next step of a long journey to the successful of an assistance and support assessment and allocation service and process for disabled and older people that this country could be proud off as a beacon of good practice.