Social Work Practices, which have been piloted successfully in children’s services are being extended to adult care. The Practices are made up from independent social workers who are contracted to local authorities.
Councils are being invited to apply to pilot the Practices, which are expected to start next summer.
The pilots will explore how the government can encourage social workers to develop fully independent groups contracted to local authorities. The projects will work across health and social care to secure better health and wellbeing for the individuals using the service. The Social Work Practices programme supports the Government’s wider agenda of building the ‘Big Society’.
The new approach will reduce the bureaucratic burden on individual social workers and this will allow social care workers to spend more time with the individuals in their care. It will also allow social workers to take decisions much closer to their clients, resulting in a more responsive service.
The programme will also make use of the increased financial flexibility to deliver better outcomes by stepping back and thinking creatively about resource use.
In a move to co-ordinate health and social care, Health and Wellbeing Boards are to be created. They will be made up from councils, the NHS, representatives of patients and the public. The aim is to bring together everybody involved in commissioning services that affect people’s health to ensure individuals get a seamless service from the NHS and social care.
Some councils are already working up their own plans for integrated working but the Government wants to find the right way forward. There will be a network of pioneering authorities to show how health and wellbeing boards could work in future. These early implementers will link with GP commissioning pathfinders to ensure the right relationships are put in place.