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Project Art Works response to East Sussex County Council’s Adult Social Care Savings Proposal on behalf of the Peer Support Network

On 6 February, East Sussex County Council agreed its budget for 2018/19 indicating £17 million of savings to be made this year, which includes a reduction of £10 million in the amount that will be spent on Adult Social Care and Health services. With over 50% of savings proposed to come from Adult Social Care and Health, this represents a disproportionate amount in contrast to other areas of council spending. This reduction is met by increasing need in East Sussex. Individuals with learning disabilities living within the county are 25% above the national average and the figure is 50% higher in Hastings and Rother.

The proposed savings are subject to a 10-week consultation, which ends on Wednesday 25th April. We encourage families, carers, support workers, our friends, supporters and partners to add their feedback to the consultation. Please feel free to copy, paste and share the information in this statement.

Link to consultation survey:

Impact of Adult Social Care cuts:

  • East Sussex County Council propose to close four day centres in the county by one day a week each and limit the number of days people can attend. This is a 10% reduction of funding spent on day services. Combined with the proposal to cut Community Support Services, including supported living schemes and supported employment by over 30%, the question of how individuals with complex support needs will be supported in their communities weighs strong. How will people be supported during those closures if they live in supported living settings when there are no care staff available to support them during the day?
  • The proposed 22% cut to residential and supported living services in the community will see a further shift towards cheaper ‘economy of scale’ options such as large care homes and institutionalised gated communities. This is a basic deprivation of the individuals’ right to choose where they live. This deprivation of choice and capacity for community care will reduce quality of life and wellbeing and impact on a person’s right to live in a place of their choice or with their families and in their community. Furthermore, people with complex support needs and neurodiverse communities should occupy a place in our civic and cultural world. We benefit as a society through inclusion, understanding and empathy. Ultimately healthy, happier people reduce costs. Cutting vital services will create higher levels of need and lead to crisis interventions that are always high cost.
  • Support at home or investment in more models of supported living in the community was at the top of the agenda for personalisation just a few years ago with the introduction of the Care Act 2014. Supporting people to live as independently as possible, for as long as possible, is a guiding principle of the Care Act 2014. The wellbeing principle of the Care Act covers key components of independent living, as expressed in the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (Article 19 of the Convention).

Care Act 2014:

  • We urge the council to consider the long-term impact on people with complex support needs and their families. A reduction in adult social care services will directly impact on access to specialist support. Support needs that are not met sufficiently, will only increase pressure on acute health services and admissions into Assessment and Treatment Units. Behaviours that are described challenging are not challenging when the individual has the right support. Good support enables people to lead full; active lives and helps avoid challenging behaviour escalating into crisis.
  • Safeguarding issues in care homes are on the rise, putting vulnerable people at risk. Without further infrastructure, and workforce development within the health and social care sector, safeguarding incidents will increase. The largest ever survey on care home staff conducted by University College London found that abuse is taking place in 99% of care homes due to chronic underfunding. Lest we forget the Winterbourne View scandal exposed in 2011 which prompted the Government’s pledge to move all people with learning disabilities and/or autism inappropriately placed in such institutions into community care by June 2014. This is a target that remains unrealised and which is further threatened by austerity measures.

Do care homes deliver person-centred care? (University College London):

WINTERBOURNE VIEW – TIME FOR CHANGE Transforming the commissioning of services for people with learning disabilities and/or autism

Recommendation: We need further support, advice and guidance for families and carers who self-manage care through direct payments. Micro care providers initiated by families exist in the community and deserve infrastructure to become sustainable. This would be a better use of resources and maximise community assets.

  • The impact on reducing staffing levels within Adult Social Care as a result of the savings will increase waiting times for assessments and reviews and thus delay access to services and support. The knock on effect of this may result in eligible care needs increasing more rapidly and increased anxiety and stress for families.
  • Family carers are the largest unpaid workforce in the UK and are in a position of vulnerability. A reliance on family members to provide care due to Social Care savings will lead to increased pressure on NHS emergency and crisis services in the long-term. An increased dependency on older generation of care-givers and insufficiently met needs of the most vulnerable in our society will impact on NHS dependency two-fold.

Since 2010 financial assessments by local authorities have increased leading to people with complex needs being forced to make higher contributions to their care packages from their disability benefits. These contributions do not appear to be factored into the savings proposal. We ask East Sussex County Council to publish this information.

Please remember that these proposed savings are subject to a 10-week consultation, which ends on Wednesday 25th April.

We encourage families, carers, support workers, our friends, supporters and partners to add their feedback to the consultation.

Please feel free to copy, paste and share the information in this statement.

Link to consultation survey:

About Peer Support Network
The Peer Support Networkis a forum for individuals with complex support needs, their families, carers and support workers. This statement represents the voice of the network in response to East Sussex County Council’s proposed cuts to Adult Social Care.

About Project Art Works
Based in Hastings, Project Art Works is the UK’s leading artist led organisation working with people with profound intellectual impairment and complex needs.

Talk to us at Project Art Works, contact Esther Springett, Community Network Coordinator at [email protected].
01424 423 555

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