£1.5m investment for Learning Disabilities

A pioneering programme to change the way support is provided for people with Learning Disabilities in Somerset has been given a £1.5 million Government boost.

Somerset County Council (SCC) and the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are working to create a Social Enterprise Partnership which will provide services for people with Learning Disabilities.

Today it has been announced that their bid for £1.5m from the Government’s Transformation Challenge Award has been successful. The money will be used to cover costs of the transfer to the new social enterprise partnership.

It will cater for the 900 people who currently use the Council’s in-house service. Rising demand and the desire for more personalised services mean that the current service is not sustainable.

Cllr William Wallace, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “I am delighted we have been awarded this investment for an initiative that will allow us to join up with partner agencies to provide sustainable support for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. We are committed to the long term future of services for people with Learning Disabilities. Our priority is to ensure that they, and their families and carers, can take control of the services that are important to them.”

Dr Matthew Dolman, Chairman of Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group said: “It is important for all of us to feel we are an individual and that we are provided with personalised care and support. Somerset CCG looks forward to working with partners to develop a service that makes that commitment a reality.”

The enterprise will be shaped by the priorities of those who benefit from the services and their carers. It will aim to offer affordable, personalised services catering for even the most complex needs. These will be available locally so that customers can stay close to their support network.

It will also encourage the development of a sustainable and expanding marketplace for care services. Voluntary, local and family-run businesses will be encouraged to participate.

Local Government Minister Kris Hopkins said: “The local authorities behind these projects have shown what can be done to improve the services people get, helping them to live independently and reducing demand for public services.

“By working with the local police, health bodies, Jobcentre Plus, voluntary groups and others they are eliminating waste and creating services which help people first time – not services which send people from pillar to post to get problems sorted.”

The views and aspirations of people with learning disabilities, their families and carers have been a priority throughout the project and will continue to be once the partnership has been established.

The Council’s in-house service supports around 900 of the 1,600 people with Learning Disabilities in the county. Demographic changes, demand for more personalised support and budget pressures mean the current service isn’t sustainable.

Transformation Challenge Award

The £1.5 million awarded to Somerset County Council is a share of an £89.4 million investment from Government for service improvements which will save over £900 million in the long-term.

There were a total of 73 successful bids across the UK which involve 287 partners including 122 local authorities and 165 other organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors.

All of the bids were submitted by partnerships which set out how they would work together to eliminate duplicate services and provide more coherent support for people.