Abstracts: November 5th, 2008

The reorganization of children’s and adult services resulted in most councils setting up separate directorates to replace the former education and social services. But 10 per cent of councils chose to combine both roles in a single director post. This report from the Improvement and Development Agency presents research findings on how the combined model is working.

The major disadvantage of combining children’s and adult services into a single director role is keeping up expertise in all of the areas. A very practical impact is that the amount of reading is doubled.

On the plus side the combined role has supported intergenerational work and it ensures better use is made of buildings, staff time and expertise. It also provides a smoother care pathway for children with complex needs and removes problems such as a child with a disability transferring to adult services at 18.

Partnership working has been made easier particularly where joint appointments were made with the Primary Care Trust. This has proved useful in tackling national agenda issues such as health inequalities. It has also helped to have all negotiations and commissioning with the NHS taking place within one directorate. Perhaps, most importantly, it has removed the excuse for people not talking to each other.

A crucial benefit is that the combined role has shifted the focus onto families.

The report is available from the IDeA. http://www.idea.gov.uk/idk/aio/8941236