A new approach to help people find care

  • With social cares budget cut by 20% since 2010, care workers have developed a new way to help those needing support.

    A peer-support model is a way of working that allows the sector to save money whilst also giving reliable support and care to those needing it.  Peer brokers will help other care-users manage their own services, meaning people managing long-term conditions are being trained to support others find care. Chief executive of social enterprise MySupportBroker, Sinéad Brophy, has seen councils across the UK working with the peer-broker model already making savings and improving the care services people receive.

    MSB peers make use of free services in the local community, engage personal assistants as part of a customer-care plan, ensure the use of a personal budget as a direct payment, rather than a managed service, and use innovative technology to link broker, customer and council together. They make savings by facilitating support planning, offering training, investing in local communities and evaluating impact. Peer brokers bring years of experience in finding solutions for people with disabilities, long-term illnesses, dementia and other conditions.

    In an article for the Guardian, Sinéad Brophy writes, ‘Through our social impact reports, as well as external and independent reporting, we are able to identify and evaluate the impact our work is having on local communities. Our analysis of a sample of 100 care plans created for councils, for example, including Enfield, Southwark and Walsall Councils, has shown a reduction in the cost of support planning to just 2.5% of the cost of a personal budget. This is a dramatic reduction when you consider that 40% of the government's overall social care spend of £20bn goes solely into the bureaucracy of delivering it, as shown in a recent NHS Information Centre report.'

    Getting the correct resources to people in need of social care services can be challenging, meaning that rigorous training and quality assurance is needed to ensure the best quality is being given to users of the service.

    A main role of a peer broker is to significantly reduce social isolation and increase local participation. This is important for making people that need this support feel part of a community.

    The cost of social care assessment services to a council is said to be around £800, but this scheme MSB is running currently works out at only £300.


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