Adult Social Care
Adult social care in Northamptonshire underwent a re-organisation in October 2020. this was in preparation for the move towards the two unitary authorities in April 2021.
The restructure provided the opportunity to look at providing adult social care on a localised level, and a new model of working to support people in Northamptonshire to live life to their fullest potential and aspirations.
The way Adult Social Care decided to do this was to ensure that the social care teams sit at the heart of the local communities they serve. The two unitary authorities, West Northamptonshire Council, and North Northamptonshire Council each have the following team structures:
The teams have hubs in Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough, East Northants, Northampton, Daventry and South Northants. The hubs work closely with a range of agencies and local community resources, connecting people and communities, to promote and maximise independence and community integration. For young people who have been referred to adult social services, the community team will be the team they first have contact with. The exception is those young people with a diagnosed learning disability.
The Inclusion teams provide progression support for people over the age of 18 who have longer term support requirements. The emphasis is on promoting the person’s strengths, and maximising their independence and opportunities to achieve their identified outcomes. The teams are geographically located to provide a community based focus with hubs in Corby/Kettering, Wellingborough/East Northants, and Northampton and Daventry/South Northants. They will work with both people who are new to service by linking in with the community teams, and with people already in receipt of adult social care funded support in their area. The teams work with all people with a primary physical health, or mental health condition, and also with those adults with ASD where there is no associated diagnosed learning disability.
Learning Disability Teams
Working to the same geographical model as the inclusion and community teams, the learning disability teams provide support to adults with a learning disability, or ASD where there is also an associated learning disability from the age of 18 upwards to achieve their goals and gain greater independence, through a focus on outcomes focussed packages of support and progression. The decision as to which adult social care team will work with the young person will be dependent on where the young person lives, and what their condition is.
Documentation on the Local Offer website may still refer to the 18 to 25 Disabilities team, but this team has been moved into the new social care structure detailed above.
How To Make a Referral to Adult Social Care
Some young people approaching the end of their statutory and post-16 education may require continuing support to meet their social care needs, and may need to be referred to Adult Social Services for an assessment to determine their eligibility for support and provision of services under the Care Act 2014.
If a young person is already known to the Northamptonshire Children’s Trust, e.g. the Disabled Children’s Team (they may be receiving a Direct Payment or Short Break), the social worker will have already made contact with colleagues in Adult Social Care about the young person to discuss what may be needed in adult life. Please ask your Children’s social worker/leaving care worker if you are not sure if this has happened.
There are adult social care staff who work closely with special schools and colleges to identify students and young people who are not known to the Children’s Services and who also may be eligible to be assessed under the Care Act. If the young person does not have a children’s social services worker already involved in their care and support and an adult assessment is required, a referral will need to be made. Please visit the website or telephone the Customer Service Centre on 0300 126 7000 (West Northamptonshire) or 0300 126 3000 (North Northamptonshire)
It is important not to wait until the person is almost 18 before referring to adult social services, as the adult social care worker will need some time to work with the young person to identify what support is required, and if the person is eligible for more formal support, to plan and put in place the support that will be required when they reach the age of 18. The Care Act 2014 does not specify at what age an adult assessment should be undertaken, merely that it should be undertaken when the local authority considers it to be of ‘significant benefit’. This should be discussed as part of the preparation for adulthood conversations being held with children’s social care workers or education providers. The majority of young people tend to be referred from age 16 upwards, although for a small minority it is of significant benefit to be referred prior to 16. Upon receipt of the referral, the young person and (where relevant) their family will be contacted to agree a timescale for adult social care services to start their assessment.
What Happens Next?
Once a referral has been received by Adult Social Care Services, a worker will make contact with the young person and (where relevant) the young person’s family and hold what is known as a Conversation 1. The aim of this is to gather an understanding of what really matters to the young person, what their strengths are, their goals, aspirations, and what support the young person might need to help them achieve their goals. For some young people this will mean supporting them to connect with existing resources in their local community.
For other young people, they may need more formal support to help them to achieve their maximum level of independence. In this case, a further conversation will involve a more detailed look at how the young person’s condition impacts on their day to day lives, what opportunities there are for the young person to progress to achieve their goals, dreams, aspirations and hopes for the future. It will also involve determining which of the young person’s identified needs are eligible to be met by formal services under the Care Act 2014, and may also involve multi agency working with health colleagues for example to make sure the young person’s holistic needs are met.
There may also be a need to consider whether the young person is able to make decisions relating to their care and support needs. In the event that they lack capacity to make certain decisions, the worker will consider what assessments may be required under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
Once the needs and goals and desired outcomes have been identified the adult social care worker will work with the young person and (where relevant) their families to develop a plan of what the support to achieve the desired outcomes will look like.
How is Support Arranged?
Support is arranged through the Adult Social Services Brokerage Service.
There is no direct access to this service. The Adult Social Care Worker who undertakes the assessment will produce a support plan in partnership with the young person and their family. This is then forwarded to the brokerage service by the worker, together with a pen picture of the young person. The Brokerage Service then helps to source the support that offers the specific outcomes that have been identified and satisfy an individual’s goals and wishes from their assessment
The young person and (where relevant) the young person’s family will be provided with information about all the providers who have indicated that they could meet the young person’s needs and support identified outcomes, and young people and their families are encouraged to visit these options to decide on their preference. The selected provider(s) will undertake their own assessment to be sure that what they can offer fits with the young person’s identified needs, goals and that they can support to achieve desired outcomes.
Once the agreed support is in place, regular reviews are undertaken to ensure that the service provision continues to meet needs, that outcomes are being met, and where relevant that the service is supporting the young person in their progression.
Alternatively, if the young person’s preference is for a non-commissioned provider, but equivalent support could be provided from a provider already on the commissioning framework, then the local authority would pay the equivalent amount in the form of a direct payment. If the preferred option is more costly than the provision the local authority could have commissioned, there would be a requirement for a third party top up to make up the difference in cost. The local authority must also be satisfied that the young person’s preferred provider is able to clearly meet identified needs and outcomes.
The young person would also have the option of a direct payment to employ a personal assistant should this be an identified way of providing support to meet identified needs and outcome requirements.
If the young person has a learning disability, we have introduced a new contract Framework called ‘Commissioning for a Good Life‘. This framework focusses our commissioned services on strengths based approaches, progression and outcomes. A similar approach is being used for autistic people with complex needs using a contract Framework called ‘commissioning for Brighter Futures’. Similar frameworks for people with Physical Disabilities and Mental Health needs are in development and we will see more contract frameworks that focus on achieving outcomes that matter to the person using those services.
Framework for Commissioning a Good Life
This is a joint framework developed in partnership between Northamptonshire Adult Social Services and Northamptonshire Clinical Commissioning Group. It is founded on the principles that People with a learning disability want to lead ordinary lives and do the things that most people take for granted. They want to study at college, get a job, have an income, have relationships and friendships, enjoy social activities and have a place they can call home.
People with learning disabilities have choice and influence over where they live, where they work, what happens during the day and how they spend their leisure time.
The concept that people with a learning disability have the same rights and aspirations is the foundation upon which adult services are commissioned. Northamptonshire County Council held engagement, involvement, and co-production sessions during 2017, to make sure people with a learning disability, their families, and the people who support them were able to say what matters the most to them and what they want most in life.
The outcomes were arrived at through descriptions of experience called ‘I statements’. Unsurprisingly they focus on a need to maintain ordinary life experiences.
- the importance of family and relationships,
- of having somewhere to live that provides security and a sense of well-being,
- of having some control and being supported with opportunities for improved lifestyles, better health, employment and training.
Measuring the outcomes is the only way to know whether people with learning disabilities and their families are living good lives in their community.
These were identified as being the outcomes that matter to people with a learning disability and their supporters in Northamptonshire:
- People get the help they need, when they need it
- People have, and hold on to, relationships that have meaning to them
- People feel in control
- People have equal access to healthcare, training and occupation
- People feel safe, but are supported to take risks
- People have somewhere to live they call home
- People live longer
- Family and supporters are able to continue caring.
Independence is not considered as meaning being without or free from support. All services should enable ordinary living and citizenship and should be there for the period they are required for. As an individual grows in confidence and ability, services should be able to ‘step away’ in a graduated, planned and safe away in order to allow that individual to flourish. All the framework providers are committed to working with people to support their progression so they can achieve their optimum level of independence.
Contingency plans and plans that describe the ‘in case of...’ should be known and understood by all. Safety nets are important in understanding and managing risk but also in reducing anxieties and in managing statutory responsibilities.
Types of Care and Support
There are eight different types of care arrangements on offer:
- Supported Living
- Supported Accommodation
- Opportunities for living and learning
- Short breaks
- Forensic Support
- Supporting people in their home
- Residential based living
- Short term intervention and crisis support
Collectively across Northamptonshire, there are over 120 service providers delivering and developing services across the care and support sectors for learning disabilities.
Please search the Local Offer website by using the keywords, “Framework Provider” for details of current commissioned providers. The Local Offer team has been advised of these details by Adult Social Services, but it is to be expected that the Brokerage Service will have more up-to-date information.
Northamptonshire also has additional services across each care and support sector, which are available for access privately or through Direct Payment options.