Scrutiny councillors quiz new director on carers

Councillors on the Health Social Care & Well Being overview and scrutiny board questioned the new director of Social Services, Phil Hodgson, and the new Head of Child & Family Services, David Howes on the issue of support for carers.  The board is currently reviewing how the Council and its partners identify and support carers, including young carers.

The Board wanted to know how both Phil and David planned to meet the two challenges of the predicted increase in the numbers of people becoming carers and needing support as the population gets older and lives longer and how this would be achieved within existing or smaller budgets.

Both Phil and David agreed that there needed to be  greater integration and smarter, closer working between Adult Social Services and Child & Family Services.  This would help both departments avoid overlap of work and duplication and  help to really get the most out of the money available in the budget for the services.   Phil also stressed the importance of working across the different parts of the Council like Education, the Youth Service and Culture & Leisure to maximise support for young carers and carers. 

Opportunities for closer working didn’t just stop within the Council’s own departments, Phil said that he and his team were looking at opportunities with health and voluntary sector organisations. 

On the Carers Strategies (Wales) Measure 2010 the councillors learned that officers had attended training workshops organised by the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board.  It was important that the Council was involved in things like this to raise awareness amongst health colleagues of the way in which the Council’s own support services for carers were delivered in the community.

The Carers Strategies (Wales) Measure 2010 has some funding available for education and training for the health sector on how to recognise carers and support them.  Phil stressed how important it would be to use the money effectively and that any training should involve carers and carers’ perspectives.

David Howes suggested that another area within support for carers which needed to be examined was carers assessments and whether our own processes were robust enough and complied with our responsibilities. 

The councillors were also interested to understand the geographical spread and prevalence of carers across Swansea to see if resources could be better targetted toward areas of need.  At the moment, this kind of data doesn’t exist but the councillors were keen that this was highlighted in their review report and that it form the basis of a recommendation. 

The councillors will meet with the Crossroads Young Carers Project tomorrow and the Cabinet Member, Nick Tregoning, on Wednesday.  After this the councillors have 2 more evidence gathering sessions before beginning work on their final report and recommendations.

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