Investing in modern social care services
Over the last four years, tackling child sexual exploitation and improving services for the most vulnerable children and families has been our top priority – and it will always remain so.
An additional £20m per year of investment, alongside a major programme of reform, training and improvement, have led to Ofsted judging Rotherham’s Children’s Services to be “Good” and with some elements considered “Outstanding” – which is the highest possible rating. But with more children coming into care than ever before across Britain and child poverty soaring we will never be complacent and we will continue to improve services.
At the same time, a growing elderly population and the changing expectations of Adult Social Care users have meant that we have had to take a fundamental review of the way that these services work. We need social care services that intervene early, and help people to make their own decisions about their lives so that everyone can live independently for as long as possible.
We have secured Unison’s Ethical Care Charter, ended the standard of 15 minute home care visits and with fundamental changes now in place we are investing millions of pounds in brand new facilities to meet the needs of service users.
- Meeting our commitments on child sexual exploitation: We will meet our commitment to Rotherham’s survivors of child sexual exploitation, including continuing to commission the long term support services that survivors need, informed by their own feedback and experiences. We will continue to work closely with the National Crime Agency to deliver justice to those who suffered such terrible abuse in the past. And we will continue to lobby the government to secure the resources that are required to ensure that justice is done.
- At the same time, we will continue to drive high standards to protect children at risk of all forms of exploitation today. We will continue to work closely with Barnardo’s to provide early intervention and education services, and we will maintain a dedicated multi-agency team to ensure that services work together to support families and prosecute those who seek to abuse children.
- New care facilities: The consequences of Tory austerity have hit vulnerable families hard. There are now more children in care across Britain than there have ever been before. We will continue to drive high standards of Early Help and social work to ensure that families get the help they need before a child needs to come into care. But for children who do need to come into care we will also recruit more foster carers so that more children can remain in our area where it is in their best interests to do so. We have already opened a new in-house residential home for children who are looked after, and have plans and funding in place for three more.
- More on-street youth work: We know that many residents worry about children and young people having places to go and things to do, which is why we have committed to more detached youth work, reinforced with an additional £50,000 in our latest budget. More youth workers will be able to engage with young people on the street, in parks, or wherever they are.
- Reform of Learning Disabilities facilities has demonstrated how we can help people with learning disabilities to live more independently, and with more control over their own lives. But for those people who do need day care, we will invest up to £2.1 million in a new home for the REACH day centre, ensuring it is fit for purpose for the future.
- To make sure that families of people with learning disabilities get the breaks that they need we have replaced the council’s out-dated respite facilities with new, purpose built, in-house respite care at Conway Crescent which opened recently.
- For many people, social care is a critical part of the journey out of hospital and back into their own home. So alongside local NHS services we will consider whether new specialist Intermediate Care facilities could better support people who need support for a period of weeks, without going into residential care.
- We will deliver new multi-purpose specialist housing, invest in aids and adaptations to enable people with specific needs to stay in their own homes rather than move out, and we will look to secure more extra care housing locally to support those who can live semi-independently.
- Integrating Health and Social Care locally – bringing together NHS and council services so that they work more closely – is a critically important way of improving the experiences of people who rely on services, and we are proud that the Rotherham Place Plan has been recognised as national best practice. Social care and Health staff work closely together and an increasing number of local GPs are signed up to a common system of health and social care records and the Rotherham Health app. However, it’s important that services come together on their own terms and where it is in the best interests of residents. That’s why the council is not a signatory to the Tories’ regional Integrated Local Care System. Labour will always oppose cuts to the Health Service or attempts to privatise it.