Dumbarton Constituency MSP, Jackie Baillie, is angry about West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership’s attitude to self-directed support. A review of self-directed support in West Dunbartonshire by the Care Inspectorate found that the local authority’s performance was much less positive than the national picture and that self-directed support was severely underdeveloped.
The report also found that West Dunbartonshire was behind other local authorities in respect of their progress with self-directed support implementation. Nationally, in 2016/17 the self-directed support implementation rate was at 39%, an increase from 26% in 2015/16. In West Dunbartonshire in 2015/16 the rate of uptake was 3% and this has not improved since.
While the inspection found that there were positive examples of self-directed support approaches achieving good outcomes for people with learning disability or acquired brain injury, this was not evident across major service areas, such as services for older people.
The report also found:
• Unpaid carers described the health and social care partnerships responses were primarily reactive rather than proactive and not outcomes-focused.
• The quality of information about self-directed support to people in West Dunbartonshire varied, and that there was no information on the health and social care partnership website.
• While most staff demonstrated a basic broad knowledge of self-directed support, they were not confident in using an asset-based approach.
• Staff in services outside of learning disability and acquired brain injury did not have the supporting framework to allow them to build on their knowledge.
• There was a predominance of practice and recording which was not in keeping with self-directed a support approach.
• There was no evidence that West Dunbartonshire actively monitored, evaluated or sought feedback on the co-production of assessments.
• Service commissioning was weighted towards traditional services with little evidence of innovation.
• As most services were still provided directly by the Council, there was little flexibility, choice and control for supported people.
The latest data shows that West Dunbartonshire was ranked 28 out of 32 of all local authorities for the percentage of adults using direct payments, or personally managed budgets in 2014/15 to 2015/16.
And that they were ranked 32 out of 32 local authorities making it the worst in Scotland on the percentage of social care clients who made an informed choice regarding self-directed support.
The report states that there has been little to no improvement since.
Overall, of the six local authorities where individual reviews of this type had taken place, West Dunbartonshire performed worst, with 2 outcomes evaluated as adequate and another three evaluated as weak. None of the outcomes in West Dunbartonshire were rated as good or very good.
“This is a damning review of self-directed support in West Dunbartonshire. To come bottom of the class amongst local authorities is a slap in the face for people who need support.
It is simply not good enough that people are not being properly informed about self-directed support, that their choice is being limited and that staff do not feel confident enough to give people information about the options available to them.
“Of the six local authorities where reviews of self-directed support have been carried out by the Care Inspectorate, only West Dunbartonshire received evaluations of weak.
“Self-directed support legislation was introduced by the Scottish Parliament in 2013 in order to give more power to individuals to decide how their social care is delivered.
“So it is hugely disappointing that this Council has failed to implement the requirements of the act to give people that choice.”