Additional £875,000 to help transition to a new future for Oxfordshire’s daytime support services
Oxfordshire County Council is proposing a new daytime support system that would enable older people and those with disabilities to live independently in their community.
Having listened to more than 1,000 responses to a consultation that ran during November and December, the council’s original proposals have changed to reflect comments made - with £875,000 extra being spent.
The proposals, to be considered by the council’s cabinet on January 24, continue to include a guaranteed core service for people who require daytime support, alongside financial support to enable community-based services to continue to flourish.
People with assessed needs who receive help from Oxfordshire County Council’s adult social services would continue to receive support under a new proposed structure for daytime support in the county. Changes would not begin until late Summer/Autumn 2017.
Additional support to the voluntary sector
The proposal to cabinet also includes an additional money to be spent in the following way:
An additional £550,000 in a transition fund for voluntary sector providers who receive grant funding from the council - £300,000 in 2017/18 and £250,000 in 2018/19. This is in direct response to providers who responded to the consultation to say more time was needed.
There would be an additional £100,000 on fundraising support for the voluntary sector.
The council would replace its current annual funding for 47 community-based daytime support services with grant pots totalling £350,000 a year, which services could bid for under two categories. Funding is not currently linked to any system based on actual need. The council believes it can reduce overall funding and would target it at those services that would be unsustainable without it, plus those services that wish to innovate via:
Innovation Fund – the council proposes to provide one-off grant funding to establish self-sustaining new services to fill gaps in the market. There will be a grant pot of £100,000. (£25,000 less than originally proposed)
Sustainability Fund – the council proposes to provide grants to enable the ongoing delivery of daytime support services in areas of high need. There will be a grant pot of £250,000 – this is double the proposal of £125,000 that went out to consultation in November.
There is therefore a total of £100,000 of extra permanent grant funding.
This means direct spend on voluntary sector services will be up to £900,000 in 2017/18; £600,000 in 2018/19 and £350,000 in 2019/10. It is currently £992,000.
The council values day time support services run by volunteers and will continue to support these services while encouraging new community initiatives to be launched. Three-quarters of all community-based services do not receive funding from the county council so would be unaffected by the changes.
The county council would continue to provide a core service for people who are eligible for social care support, which makes sure they have the care and support they need. It would be a countywide service with an annual budget of £4.5m and a wide range of flexible, costed support options. The council would replace its current Health and Wellbeing Centres and Learning Disability Daytime Support services (22 building-based services) with eight new bases at the Abbey Centre, Abingdon; Redlands in Banbury; Bicester Health and Wellbeing Centre; The Meadows in Didcot; Oxford Options; High Street, Wallingford; Witney Resource Centre and the Charlton Centre in Wantage.
These bases would run from October and would be subject to ongoing review in terms of locations. People with different needs will be supported in the same buildings but there would be a range of different spaces and facilities to meet different needs and interests.
Proposals include transport to and from services for everybody who is eligible for it or who chooses to purchase it.
The council-funded Dementia Support Service provides support to people with dementia and their families across Oxfordshire through Dementia Advisors. It provides face-to-face support to an average of 120 people per week. This service would continue to be funded.
The council-funded Wellbeing and Employment Service, “OxForward” provides support to people over the age of 18 with learning disabilities, autism and physical disabilities. It supports 700 people each year providing opportunities such as moving in to and maintaining volunteering roles and employment. The council proposes this should continue with its existing budget.
The council would continue to work with the Age UK-provided Community Information Network service. In the event that changes are agreed to daytime support, the Community Information Network would prioritise working with people affected by changes helping manage a personalised transition from current daytime support services for those people who do not have eligible needs.
In addition the council will be permanently investing £25,000 a year in training for services around dementia and autism and £100,000 a year in enabling people to make choices about the use of their personal budgets.
When added to the £100,000 of extra grant funding this makes up £225,000 of permanent funding in addition to the £650,000 of temporary adult social care precept funding for daytime support.
Fit for the future and sustainable over the long term
Councillor Judith Heathcoat said: “We’ve listened carefully to points raised in the consultation and responded. Daytime support helps many people stay connected to their friends and communities. We want to ensure these services can continue on a solid footing for the future and we have listened carefully to what has been said in the consultation. I am pleased we are able to spend £875,000 extra in response to comments received and in particular to enable a smoother transition period than was envisaged before the consultation.
“Through volunteers and community groups there is already a thriving daytime support network in Oxfordshire – and three-quarters of these groups currently receive no council funding at all. As such I am confident voluntary daytime support services will continue to flourish.
“We hope to create more choice of day services from voluntary and private sector organisations. Advice, support grants and the addition of a substantial amount of transitional funding will be available to make this happen.
“At the same time, the council will guarantee a core service for people who have assessed eligible needs for social care support.
“We recognise that the period of change will be difficult and there will be support from experienced, skilled staff through that process. We are confident that the new services will provide tailored support to meet needs.”
Resilient network of services
Cllr Heathcoat added: “My cabinet colleagues will be asked to make a decision on these changes on January 24. Our ambition is to create a resilient network of services that expands what is currently on offer in Oxfordshire.
“Savings come from changing the way we deliver services. There’d be fewer council-run buildings and we’d save money on transport while providing a more flexible transport system delivered by support workers.
“The extra £875,000 means we can give a lot more help to people as we transition through changes.”
Notes to editors
Savings to the council on the £9.3m of services currently provided would reduce to £8.595m in 2017/18, £6.461m in 2018/19 and £6.161m in 2019/10. The saving is therefore £3.2m by 2019. Changes to services would begin in August 2017.