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Meeting the challenges

In common with other areas across the country, the Council is having to make significant reductions in its budgets for care & support services. Alongside this, as the population gets older, there is a growing demand for care services. 

In order to meet these challenges, the Council is looking to do all it can to be as efficient as possible. This includes having a clear financial strategy, working more intelligently with our partners, investing in better ICT, and addressing high levels of sickness absence.

2017/18 priority: Medium Term Financial Strategy for adult services  

In March 2018, the Council agreed a new Medium Term Financial Strategy for the next three years. This sets aside some specific funds to support adult social care, but also requires significant savings and efficiencies.

Proposals include:

  • Ensuring support provided to people is proportionate to their needs, and that all alternatives are explored
  • More effective reablement services to support people to be more independent and have less need for care services
  • More efficient provision of day-care services
  • Development of new affordable residential & nursing home provision, and making best use of shared living accommodation owned by the Council
  • More efficient contracts with providers of care at home and other services

The Council makes sure that any changes to services are managed appropriately, and in particular that there is full consultation and dialogue with people who may be affected in order to achieve the best solutions for people.

2017/18 priority: Solihull Together – developing a whole system approach to meeting health and care needs

Through Solihull Together, the Council works with partners in the health and voluntary sectors to develop an integrated approach to meeting health and care needs. Through working more effectively with our partners, we are able to provide a better service for our customers.

Over the past year, the partnership has focussed on three major projects:

  • Community Wellbeing Services: Commissioning integrated, simplified and effective provision to help people stay healthy & independent, and get the information, advice & support they need at the right time. The prospectus is being finalised at the moment and the procurement process will start in early July, with new contracts in place from 1 April 2019.
  • SupportUHome: Ensuring people can return home safely from hospital with the right support in place
  • The Frailty Advice & Support Team (FAST). This is a new multi-disciplinary team which provides a timely and comprehensive assessment to people with an acute need. This includes: access to expert advice; same day tests and results and, following discharge,support at home tailored to people’s needs. People can access the service through their GP, community services or just turn up. Following a successful pilot at Solihull Hospital, the service will now be rolled out across Solihull.

The annual Solihull Together Awards celebrate the dedication of professionals who strive to bring about improvements in care and the passion of local people making a difference in their communities.

Visit www.solihulltogether.co.uk to find out more.

2017/18 priority:  Replacing our main social care ICT system

In February 2018 the Council published a tender award notice securing a replacement for the social care system CareFirst.  The new system will go live in 2019.

The new system will be provided by Liquidlogic Ltd and will be implemented across both Children’s Services and Adult Care & Support.

The 12 month procurement process was overseen by the Council’s Cabinet and its Resources & Delivering Value Scrutiny Board, and saw engagement with staff across multiple areas of the Council.

An implementation team is in place and is now planning the migration of data into the new system.

2017/18 priority: Managing sickness absence within our workforce

The Council employs over 400 full-time equivalent staff in the Adult Care & Support Directorate. Current sickness absence levels are at an average of around 16 days per year per full-time member of staff.

The Council has put in place a range of measures to reduce absence levels, and progress is closely monitored. There are robust absence management procedures, and a focus on staff wellbeing and ensuring support is available when people need it, for instance through the Employee Assistance Programme and Occupational Health.

In March 2018 the Council surveyed all its employees around their role, their wellbeing, and how they feel about working for Solihull Council. Most of the staff in adult social care are broadly satisfied with their employment deal with the Council, with only 16% dissatisfied, and nearly 9 out of 10 feel a sense of pride about their job. However, more than half the workforce constantly experience excessive pressure, and this is likely to impact on the level of sickness absence.