Book News: November 18th, 2008

Putting People First sets the direction for adult social care over the next 10 years and this document from the Department of Health describes the sort of society Putting People First envisages.

To give people choice and control in their lives there needs to be a big change in the way communities, organisations and individuals work to support people. The Government has provided money specifically to help councils to make these changes. People want better quality services that are personal to them and more control over decisions that affect them. They want the right support, at the right time, in the right place. They also want to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of who is paying.

Councils and their partners are urged to ask: ‘What does it feel to be an older or disabled person living here?’

The document sets out four areas on which councils and partners should focus to help make sure services become more personalised and to get the right results for people. Putting People First is clear that these areas link together. To make sure change is successful, all of them have to be in place to ensure people can have the right quality of life. First are the general support and services available to everyone locally, including things like transport, leisure, education, health, housing, community safety and access to information and advice.

The second area is the support available to assist people who need a little more help, at an early stage to stay independent for as long as possible, early intervention and prevention services. These include things like support to recover from the effects of illness and help to manage a longterm condition from someone with experience of a similar condition.

The third part of Putting People First is about self-directed support. This means having services available to meet people’s needs rather than people having to fit in with the things on offer. People who need support should be able to choose who provides that support, and be able control when and where the services are provided.

Finally, Putting People First is about how society works to make sure everyone has the opportunity to be part of a community and experience the friendships and care that can come from families, friends and neighbours. This should be done without putting an unreasonable burden on friends and family who want to help. Carers need to be recognised and supported in their role. They need a life of their own outside caring.

The document is available from DoH.