26th August 2019

National plaudits for Somerset’s creative social care

Independent social care experts have praised Somerset County Council’s creative approach to social care.

The Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE), one of the sector’s leading voices, says the authority’s innovative work offers “glimmers of hope” at a tough time for social care.

This follows the recent BBC Panorama ‘Crisis in Care’ documentaries which saw Somerset bring to life the national pressures facing care as the demands of an ageing population out-strip Government funding.

In an article for the SCIE’s Chair, Paul Burstow, said: “There is another Somerset story to tell… it is working hard to promote innovative approaches to care”.

He praises the Council’s ‘Community Connect’ strategy, and specifically Somerset’s growing network of Micro-providers and Village Agents which have been kick-started and supported by the County Council.

”Somerset is trying to implement a very different way of meeting need and managing demand… it is still early days, but there are lessons to be learned”.

In recognition of this work, Somerset is a member of SCIE’s ‘Think Local, Act Personal’ Innovation Network, a group of 17 local authorities, innovative providers and individuals working together to find ways to develop and share innovative practice.

Somerset County Council is committed to lobbying for long-term, sustainable funding for social care funding. It took part in the Panorama documentary to play its part in putting the issue on to the political and public agenda.

Councillor David Huxtable, Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: “The social care system needs to be appropriately and sustainably funded and we will continue to stand up for care and fight for that.

“But more money isn’t the whole answer, we need to be working differently and exploring different ways of meeting needs in and with our communities. I’m delighted Somerset is taking a leading role in this and being recognised as a trailblazer by SCIE.”

You can read the SCIE article here https://www.scie.org.uk/news/opinions/burstow-innovation

Panorama spent ten months filming with the County Council’s social care staff in a move described as “brave and right” by the Minister for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock MP. The resulting documentaries were broadcast in May and June, receiving massive national media coverage and prompting political debate on the subject.