‘Whole person, whole life, whole system’ approach proposed for mental health housing and support

Residents with multiple and complex needs could benefit from 53 new units of specialist mental health housing and support in the city.

Housing with the right support is an integral part of the city’s health and social care partners’ commitment to a community approach to mental health and wellbeing. This plan will improve the city’s ability to provide the right housing with the right support at the right time, leading to improved outcomes for those who need it.

Crombie House

It proposes creating two new specialist mental health supported housing schemes developed and delivered by specialist partners. The proposed sites are the council-owned Woolnough House, off Hull Road, and Crombie House in Acomb. Each scheme will have 24/7 on-site staffing to support ten residents, as well as providing support to another six satellite flats near each scheme. A total of 32 specialist mental health supported housing places will be created.

In addition, 21 Housing First places will be created for people with multiple and complex needs. Housing First is an internationally recognised and evidence-based model of housing and support for those with long term housing, health and social care needs. It provides individuals with permanent housing with personalised, intensive wraparound support to help them develop and retain their independence, and maintain a tenancy.

There will be a range of options available to people using these schemes, offering varying levels of independence and support, and allowing them to progress at a pace that’s right for them. Personalised support will be provided to help each individual:

  • develop their practical skills
  • engage with their local community
  • gain confidence to achieve their goal of living independently.

The proposal will be discussed at a meeting next week click

New Christmas song for York!

Customers at a City of York Council day service for people with learning disabilities have released a new Christmas song called ‘This Christmas morning’ to help lift everyone’s spirits!

At the Community Base at Tang Hall Community Centre, customers, local residents and volunteers helped to write, sing and record the song, and also took part in directing and starring in the accompanying video.

Supported by staff from across the base, this new creative experience adds to the many already on offer.

Cllr Carol Runciman, executive member for adult social care and health said: “It’s wonderful that so many customers have taken up this opportunity for a new, creative experience. I know staff have put in a lot of work to make this happen and had lots of fun with it too.

“I’m sure the song will be on many people’s playlists for Christmases to come!”

Sarah Bentham, a support worker at the community base who led the project, said: “I thought that the customers would enjoy all the stages: from writing the words to the song, to the singing and recording process, and also directing and starring in the music video.

“But most of all, the project was to offer new experiences, make something that the customers could keep and be proud of and, more than anything, spread some Christmas cheer.”

“We want to stay in our home” say York seniors

The Council has released details of responses to a survey of elderly persons needs which it conducted earlier in the year.

Asked where they would like to see out their days, the majority said that they wished to remain in their existing home.

Some said that they would like to move to a smaller property.

There was little enthusiasm for placements in traditional retirement homes.

Most of the 406 respondents were owner occupiers.  The lowest response rate came from the Westfield ward (the City’s poorest) and he highest from the Guildhall Ward

Clearly location is an important factor for many older people. They want to be close to amenities and are increasingly reluctant to drive.

This need conflicts with current Council planning policies which have allocated land near Front Street Acomb – which has a full range of amenities – for family housing.

With developers reluctant to even build elderly persons homes the emphasis should be on providing easy to manage homes at sites like Lowfield, Front Street, Long Close Lane etc.

The report will be discussed next week click

York residents urged to ‘help change a child’s life’ in 2019

City of York Council is urging local residents to help change a child’s life in 2019 by fostering.

With around 150 children and young people being supported by foster carers in York at any time, the authority is always looking for new foster carers to join the team.

Fostering involves looking after children in a safe and secure environment when they can’t live with their own families.

And as James Lee, from the council’s Fostering Team, explains, they’re not looking for just one type of carer:

“The children and young people who need our care are from a wide range of backgrounds and have very differing needs, so we need foster carers with different experiences and skills to help them. Many people consider fostering when their own children have left home and they have a bit more time and space, while others foster young people alongside their own children. If you have experience of living or working with children and young people, either in a work setting or at home, and think you might be able to help then please do get in touch.”

To find out more about how you can help local children by fostering call 01904 555678 or visit www.york.gov.uk/fostering

Council election manifestos compared

6. Planning and Social Care

A draft Local Plan agreed for submission in 2011 would have seen 575 homes per annum built in the City.

10 year housing completions trend in York

Labours “Big City” approach alternative was floated in 2013.  It would have seen the City grow by 25%. Many of the houses would have been built in the Green Belt, which would have been damaged irreparably. The plan never reached the public inquiry stage.

During the last three years an average of 1131 additional homes have been provided in the City each year.

This compares to an average, over the last 10 years, of 652.

The latest Local Plan – still not adopted – envisages 790 homes a year being provided. This is still much higher than ONS projects say is necessary and would require a sustained growth in jobs, the scale of which has not been not seen since the Industrial Revolution.

Labours manifesto still advocates building in the Green Belt.

The number of York residents supported at home through care package is around 1800. About 650 residents are admitted to nursing or residential care each year. The figures are stable

Over the last 18 months the numbers of delayed discharges from hospital resulting from unavailable “care in the community” facilities has fluctuated between 4 and 11 patients.

There have been delays in the Councils elderly persons new accommodation strategy. Although some homes have closed, there has been little progress “on site” in building new facilities at Oakhaven, Lowfield, Haxby etc.

York’s accessibility information in the palm of your hand.

National disability organisation, AccessAble is launching a free app to give visitors and residents of York high-quality accessibility information they can access whilst out and about.

Long-term partner of City of York Council and provider of detailed access guides, AccessAble have created a new mobile app which aims to transform the quality and availability of accessibility information.

The app provides detailed access guides to 10,000s of places across the UK and Ireland. Crucially each guide is created by locations having been visited by an AccessAble surveyor and local people with accessibility requirements, who can collect over 1,000 pieces of information for just one venue.

The app itself can display facts, figures and photographs as well as step-by-step descriptions of what accessibility is like at a particular location. Users can create their own account and save favourite places and filter their preferences depending on their accessibility needs.

Find out more at www.AccessAble.co.uk
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Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman Report

City of York Council has apologised after being found at fault by the local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) for not providing appropriate supervision for the parents of a child in its care in hospital and for not responding to their complaint quickly enough.

The council has already fully accepted all the recommendations made by the Ombudsman.

Maxine Squire, Interim Corporate Director for Children, Education and Communities, City of York Council, said: “We are extremely sorry for the distress caused and have apologised unreservedly to the family.

“We fully accept the Ombudsman’s findings and recommendations. We have already taken action to ensure that lessons are learnt from this case and that our procedures are improved.”

The council will make a formal response to the Ombudsman on actions that have been taken after considering a report from the LGSCO at a meeting on 29 November.

The council has already carried out the following recommendations from the Ombudsman:

  • An apology has been made to the complainants for the failure to review supervision arrangements for their child and for the delays in dealing with their complaint.
  • The complainants have been paid £2000 for the distress caused.
  • The council has reviewed its policies to ensure that supervision arrangements can be made available for relatives visiting looked after children in hospital.
  • The council has contacted the out-of-area hospital and council involved in the case to develop closer working relationships for when looked after children receive treatment outside York.

The authority is currently reviewing the training needs of council officers at all levels in relation to the statutory complaints process and the handling of statutory children’s complaints to ensure that they are being dealt with in line with statutory timescales, as per the Ombudsman’s recommendations.

Copies of the Ombudsman’s report are available from West Offices, Station Rise, YO1 6GA for three weeks from 9 November until 30 November 2018 or from www.lgo.org.uk

Waiting times go from nine weeks to one as new social care approach develops in York

The council’s new approach to adult social care has been given unanimous approval by customers, as the next Talking Point opens on Thursday 25 October at York Explore.

Residents needing support and help can visit social care staff at the library between 10am-12pm and 2pm-4pm every Thursday, for both drop-in support and pre-booked appointments.

The service gives residents earlier access to face-to-face conversations with adult social care staff, closer to where they live at Talking Points. These conversations help identify issues allowing staff to refer residents to a wide variety of appropriate support, from physiotherapists to opticians, to local activities and resources.

This quicker, tailored and highly effective access to information, advice and support started at Talking Points which opened at Lidgett Grove Methodist Church in March 2018 and continued with the opening of a Talking Point at Oaken Grove, Haxby in July this year.

Feedback from people using this informal but informative option at Lidgett Grove and Oaken Grove have so far expressed over 95% satisfaction with the outcome of their conversations and actions taken. All service users saying they would recommend Talking Points.

Since March this year, the impact of the first Talking Point at Lidgett Grove has included:

  • Slashing waiting times for a full social care assessment, from an average nine weeks to less than a week. This is the time between an initial meeting and then discussing support needs in detail and putting support in place at a hub
  • Over 95% of people invited to the hub have said they were satisfied with the experience and, most importantly, the actions and outcome of their conversation at Talking Point
  • More than half of the people who, under the old system would usually have opted for a full social care assessment, felt the support they were offered met their needs and so declined the full assessment
  • The number of people needing paid-for social care services has fallen from 65%, to 43%.

New to the York Explore Talking Point are drop-in sessions as well as pre-booked appointments.

Further Talking Points will continue to open across the city as the programme develops.

Barbara Swinn, York Explore manager, said: “After the terrific start of Talking Point in Acomb and Haxby we’re looking forward to welcoming residents of all ages so they can chat with Talking Point staff about how together, we and they and the community, can bring about improvements to their lives and how they want to live it.”

Cllr Carol Runciman, executive member for health and adult social care said: “This third Talking Point in the centre of York serves people who find it easier to come and see us in town, and is the latest in a series which we plan to open across the city. I’m delighted to hear about the positive impact our other Talking Points are having on people’s lives.

“Our experience in York so far, is in line with the better experiences and outcomes for residents reported in other cities using this approach. It makes it easier for residents to access and source effective early intervention and support.”

Wintertime adult social care boost

City of York Council has been allocated £731,000 by the Government to support adult social care needs this winter

The funding is targeted at people who don’t need to be in hospital but who do need care. It will support people as they return home whilst freeing up more hospital beds, including getting people safely back home from hospital at the weekends.

While the detailed grant conditions have not yet been shared, we will be working closely with our NHS partners to target the money towards initiatives which will make the biggest difference to the city’s more vulnerable residents and to the whole system.

York Council social enterprise company crashes

We warned in 2013 (click) that the Council plan, to hive off some social care services to a new company, were “highly risky”.

The plan was to start a “Be Independent” social enterprise to run warden call and disabled equipment loan services.

Most of the income for the new organisation would still come from the Council. It was claimed though that it could complete for other business thereby reducing the demands on taxpayers.

5 years later and it is clear that the company has failed. This is not entirely surprising as the draft  “business plan” (still available to view here “on line”) published in 2013 actually forecast that the operation would be loss making

A report the Council’s Executive next week suggests that the service be brought back under the Councils direct control.

The number of customers using the service has fallen from 2878 to 2448, about half of which are subsidised by the Council.

“Be Independent” have failed to win any new contracts during the last 5 years and lost an existing contract with the NHS to provide equipment services in the Vale of York.

The company is now loss making.

In the last financial year, it recorded a working deficit of £167,000.

If the work transfers back to the Council it will cost taxpayers an additional £95,000 a year.

One of the negative aspects of hiving off activities is that some jobs get a pay hike. The Council says that staff at “Be Independent” in the main enjoy the same conditions of service as Council employees. TUPE would therefore apply to any transferees.

The Council report fails to identify the salaries being paid to all staff although £273,000 pa is listed as “Directors remuneration”. (The latest accounts registered with Company House for 2017 list Directors remuneration as £106.443).

There was until last year one CYC appointed Director (Cllr Funnell) but this appointment was terminated on 31st March 2017. It is unclear who has been charged with safeguarding the Councils interests on the “Be Independent” board since then.

There is no comparison in the papers between the 2013 business plan and outturns.

External legal advice is apparently  being taken by the Council.