Agenda item

Scrutiny Adults and Health Report Learning Disabilities

To receive the report and presentation.


The committee received a report on Adult Social Care’s continuing development of the Promoting Independence model of delivery for people with a Learning Disability. The Committee heard that the strategy was being realigned to support its continued development.  As in all Adult Social Care services the vision is to ‘Promote Independence in Learning Disability services this is often translated into the Progression Model. A

strengths-based approach that focuses on the strengths of individuals, families, social networks and communities. Also, central to the approach, is what matters to individuals and their families. Adult Social Care continues to empower people to take control of their lives and their care and support, work with people and their communities to identify and provide sustainable local solutions to help them stay as well as possible and as independent as possible, for as long as possible. The Learning Disability Plan aims to maximise independence and raises ambition to ensure people are supported in the most effective and appropriate way.


Examples of some of the innovative ways that Somerset Adult Social Care were shared with the Committee. The use of an Oysta watch to keep track of an individual who wanted to be able to wander freely but who needed to keep in touch. Using this watch he knew he was safe and that he could be found if necessary, but it gave him the freedom he desired. This innovation had received national recognition. The Committee were shown two videos that showed how, with a little imagination and support, people with learning difficulties can work and live independent lives. These videos offered a vision of what opportunities Somerset would like to be able to offer. Making the most of assisted technology, boutique suppliers and having an open mind about possibilities will deliver this vision.


The Committee welcomed this approach but were interested to note that Somerset has the highest number of people learning difficulties recorded compared to national figures and appears to spend 2% more than other similar local authorities.  It was explained that the figures did not compare like with like as Kent for example have very good community-based support and this cost is spread out across many individuals – hence lower per head. Somerset needs to get smarter in the way it spends. A different way of supporting people will enable the County to support more people with the same money. It is not always best to spend on individual support when more is offered by a community-based project. A good example of this is the Minehead Café. Here people can get individual support to pay a bill at the same time as interacting with others; such a provision can help many more and cost less.

The Committee were interested to know if the increase in individual cost could be attributed to the awarding of the contract to Discovery. It was confirmed that this was not the case. The cost of individual budgets had been on the increase for the last five years and could not be attributed to the Discovery contract.

The Committee were interested in the number of people being supported by a personal budget and the ASCOF measures (Adult Social Care Outcome Framework). It was confirmed that these were contained in the performance report and would be shared in a briefing note with members. The Discovery outcomes will be included in an update for Scrutiny in October.

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