Major changes afoot for adult day services

Posed picture of a carer and service user. 100224M-C445
Posed picture of a carer and service user. 100224M-C445

Wide-ranging changes are being proposed by Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) to its day services for older people and people with disabilities in a bid to save between £2.4million and £3.4million.

People with assessed needs, who receive help from OCC’s adult social services, would continue to receive support under a new proposed structure for daytime support in the county and there will be financial support for community-based services run by volunteers.

Public consultation has opened on the proposals.

OCC councillor for adult social care, Judith Heathcoat, said: “Daytime support helps many people stay connected to their friends and communities. We want to ensure these services can continue on a solid footing for the future.

“Through volunteers and community groups there is already a thriving daytime support network in Oxfordshire – three-quarters of these groups receive no council funding at all. I have listened to many people who use these services so I know how much this support means to them. I am confident that with our support these services will continue to flourish.

“We also want to help those who want to create new services. We hope to create more choice of day services from voluntary and private sector organisations. Advice, support and grants will all be available to make this happen.

“At the same time, the county council will guarantee a core service for people who have assessed eligible needs for social care support.”

Those who are eligible for social care support will receive a county-wide service with a range of support options, replacing the county’s Health and Wellbeing Centres and Learning Disability Daytime Support services. There would be two potential options:

> A centre based service delivered from eight dedicated buildings, including one in Banbury, providing support and outreach work. The bases would provide multi-functional spaces for people.

> A mixed service provided to four geographical areas in Oxfordshire (city, north, south and west), using community facilities such as libraries, leisure centres and allotments with four dedicated buildings (Oxford, Banbury, Didcot and Witney) with specialist facilities and safe spaces.

Councillor Heathcoat added: “Despite the need for financial savings we embark on this change with an ambition to create a resilient network of services that expands what is currently on offer in Oxfordshire.”

The council’s dementia support service and its wellbeing and employment service (OxForward) would continue to be funded.

OCC would replace its annual funding for 47 community-based daytime support services with grant pots totalling £250,000 a year, which services could bid for under two categories: A £125,000 innovation fund, one-off grant funding to establish new services to fill gaps in the market; and a sustainability fund, a grant to enable the ongoing delivery of daytime support services in areas of high need.

The results of the consultation will go before cabinet in January for a final decision by council in February. To respond to the consultation, visit https://consultations.oxfordshire.gov.uk/consult.ti/DaytimeSupport/consultationHome

A workshop is being held in Banbury on November 23, between 12.30pm and 2.30pm. To book a place, email daytime
supportreview@oxfordshire.gov.uk or call 01865 323410.