A report from the Director of Health, Housing and Adult Social Care is attached. This outlines the proposed changes to the way in which Enfield council assesses for and provides transport services within Adult Social Care. (Key decision – reference number 4086)
(8.35 – 8.40pm)
Councillor Alev Cazimoglu (Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care) introduced the report of the Director of Health, Housing and Adult Social Care (No.173).
1. That the proposals had been subject to a 13 week consultation process and subsequent further 5 weeks of engagement and discussion. The consultation had been extensive with 22 engagement events and feedback from over 500 people, including service users, their families, representatives and the service providers. Councillor Cazimoglu took this opportunity to thank all those who had been involved.
2. The Council was doing its best to mitigate the effects of any changes in service provision. The Council would continue to assess those people who requested support as it was statutorily obliged to do. It was the Council’s intention to ensure that a range of appropriate, flexible and cost effective transport options were available to the people who needed them. This would mean that the Council would look at the transport options that were currently on offer and establish whether they were appropriate, flexible and provided value for money.
3. Councillor Cazimoglu outlined the detailed discussions and considerations that had taken place which the Council had listened to and amended its draft transport policy accordingly. The Council would not now consider the use of mobility benefits to fund eligible needs for transport support. The policy would provide a clear framework for delivering personalised transport for people who needed it most. The report made the case for a review of the council’s current transport offer in order to deliver the kind of services that were flexible and efficient and which delivered the quality, choice and control which the council would want for those very vulnerable people in need.
4. In summary Councillor Cazimoglu outlined what the Adult Social Care Transport Policy would deliver:
· Good information/advice and support to ensure vulnerable people access transport which was appropriate and safe for them.
· A transport offer with clear costs that is efficient and contributed to the savings that the Council was required to deliver.
· More choice, control and flexibility in good quality transport options.
· Making the best use of all available resources in the community.
Alternative Options Considered: NOTED the alternative options which had been considered as set out in section 5 of the report and summarised below:
1. Do nothing – this had not been considered to be a financially viable option (section 5 of the report referred).
2. Alternative savings options suggested during the consultation – the draft Transport Policy for Adult Social Care was clear about the scale of the financial funding gap facing the Council by 2020 as part of the context within which the new draft policy had been drafted and consulted upon. There was a very strongly held view, widely shared within those consulted, that the draft Transport Policy targeted vulnerable disabled groups unfairly and that alternative savings options should be explored. There had been a number of potential savings proposals communicated back to Council officers during the consultation period. Recurrent themes included increasing Council Tax, agreement that reducing the cost of the current transport service was sensible, reduced frequency of refuse collection and proposed changes to the way business rates were distributed. The response from Council officers had been consistent, that given the scale of the savings required, every department within the Council would be exploring all options available to them in order to deliver savings.
DECISION: The Cabinet agreed to
1. Note the consultation process followed, feedback received and the responses provided in Appendix E to the report.
2. Approve the Transport Policy, attached as Appendix A to the report, including removal of consideration of mobility benefit and revised charging process as part of the financial assessment.
3. Agree the implementation of this policy with effect from 1 April 2016.
4. Agree to a programme managed project with the purpose of delivering a more personalised and cost effective transport offer for Adult Social Care which would work in partnership across Adult Social Care, Children’s Services (Special Educational Needs (SEN)) and Environment which currently manages and delivers transport for both areas. This project would contribute towards delivery of the savings plan in Adult Social Care for transport.
Reason: The proposed approach was in line with the Council’s commitment to the personalisation of services and enabling clients to live independently for as long as possible. The policy was necessary so that the provision of assisted transport was equitable and consistent for service users. The implementation of the policy provided an opportunity to commission a more cost effective transport offer and delivery models representing better value for money.
(Key decision – reference number 4086)