Here on the Isle of Wight, we are in the process of refreshing our “Care Close to Home” Strategy, following year 3 of its successful implementation. The results of the Strategy have been impressive and included: the development of our Living Well early help offer, run by a consortium of voluntary and community organisations which has resulted in only 3 per cent of people being re-referred into Adult Social Care; a quadrupling in size of our home based reablement offer with over two thirds of people needing no onward care and support; and over two thirds of frontline colleagues and managers reporting that morale and engagement is good or very good. Our commissioning approach has been written up as an exemplar of good practice in terms of how we have engaged partners – while our “Raising Standards” initiative (a free development programme for all Registered Managers on the Island) has resulted in more than 90% of services now being rated as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by the CQC.
Essential to our increasing success is our focus on with how we can best help local people to use their own strengths in designing their care and support – supporting people to maintain the maximum level of independence possible. We are blessed with a vibrant and committed voluntary and community sector – and involve them as equal partners – to help us in this area.
Of course, integration with health is a key priority – and being surrounded by water means that we really have to invest in making relationships and care pathways work effectively – as our Islands residents cannot easily go elsewhere. Our Integrated Locality Services work effectively in avoiding “admission” (be that hospital or care home) – and we will grow them. Equally, we are integrating with health our care management offer in the areas of mental health and learning disabilities – and the plan is also to fully integrate budgets. On behalf of our CCG we deliver continuing health care and we are also making great strides in the joining up our respective rehabilitation and reablement offers.
Our department includes all housing needs services – including homelessness and we continue to look at how we can maximise our integration internally - implementing new pathways straddling previously entirely separate services.
We have successfully gripped our budget over the past four years – with no overspend and delivering on the challenging savings targets required.
Very importantly, we have invested heavily in our workforce over the last four years – filling gaps in our previous learning and development offer and ensuring that we support colleagues to keep abreast of best practice from elsewhere and research findings by our active membership of Research in Practice for Adults and our partnership with the Institute of Public Care at Oxford Brooks University.
Isle of Wight Council staff and services have received national recognition after being shortlisted in both the Municipal Journal Achievement Awards and the Local Government Chronical Awards this year.
What is important though is that we are nowhere near finished yet. We need social care professionals to join us who are as ambitious about the outcomes delivered to the people who need us, as they are about their own career development – because we see the two as intrinsically intertwined. Yes, the Isle of Wight is a beautiful island with a world class outdoor lifestyle and properties within a variety of stunning locations to suit all – and I am fortunate enough to have been here for the majority of my life. However, be under no illusion, this is all just an added bonus: we are no backwater of professional ambition and are delivering at pace. We are only just warming up and we need hard working, ambitious people like you to join us.
Adult Social Care & Community Well-being