Headlines: September 17th, 2009

A new national learning network on sustainable social care has been launched as a means of strengthening the sector. It has been established by the Local Government Information Unit and is sponsored by the Social Care Institute for Excellence and the Department of Health.

The new network aims to improve the capacity of the social care sector to respond positively to the increasing demands placed on service providers, commissioners and employers and to enable them to develop sustainably. Amelia Cookson, head of the LGiU’s Centre for Service Transformation, said it would be genuinely ground-breaking.

“At a time when we are debating social care funding, there is a major opportunity here to lift our heads beyond finance alone and consider the equally critical issues of the environmental and social sustainability of social care. This is a critical time for the long-term future of social care, and this network has the potential to define the agenda for years to
come,” she said.

The network is funded by a grant from the SCIE and other participants. Membership is open to local authorities across England and to potential partners involved in social care commissioning.

It has been created in the context of major challenges and reform, particularly the Green Paper on the future of funding. It will highlight how social care should be contributing to a local authority’s sustainable community plan, the local strategic partnership and to the Comprehensive Area Assessment process. The LGiU says that with a growing gap between resources and demand for social care the Network will emphasise ways of achieving value for money that also generate environmental, social and economic benefits for individuals.