Council grant to help reduce adult social care assessment waiting times

By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter

A council grant worth more than £344,000 will be used to reduce the waiting times for Adult Social Care assessments.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has given a total of £27 million to all 152 upper-tier and unitary local authorities in England to help tackle the issue.

As part of the move, Nottinghamshire County Council (NCC) has received a grant of £344,932.

Councils must carry out social care assessments before it recommends that help is implemented such as new equipment, practical help from a paid carer or moving into a care home.

But nationally, waiting lists for these assessments have grown in recent years.

The money means that each local authority will fund a dedicated member of staff to review how the local systems currently work.

NCC is proposing that £64,000 is used to replace “hard-to-fill social worker vacancies”. This will include recruiting higher numbers of assistants or trainee
roles which can be easier to recruit to.

The council is also proposing that £100,000 will be used for new online software and training.

And the remaining £180,000 will be used to bring in expertise to “review the current operating model”.

The intention is that this would “reduce the assessment burden on the local authorities and make use of virtual assessments where appropriate”.

County council documents stated: “This is a non-ringfenced grant contribution paid to local authorities towards implementing innovative projects developed in response to planned reforms.

“There are no conditions on the grant and the guidance states that the grant can be used to fund work to date or to update and implement plans that may have been paused when charging reform was delayed.”

The assessment process for Adult Social Care in Nottinghamshire was changed from April 2022, which resulted in the forms used for
assessment being reduced from twenty pages to five pages.

“This supports the reduction in waiting times for assessment which is identified as a key priority for the department to address,” county council documents added.

“Though delayed, the impact of Social Care Reform is expected to dramatically increase the demand for assessments and in response to this position, work is currently underway to implement an online self-assessment option for both a person’s financial and care assessment.”

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