Annex B Impact on other areas of service - beyond adult health and social care
B.1. This section provides a description of ongoing work to consider the potential impact - potential opportunities and risks - that integration of adult health and social care may have on other aspects of social work and social services delivery.
B.2. Further consideration of these important issues, and action to address them, will be taken forward in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders over the consultation period for integration of adult health and social care, and beyond. As noted in Chapter 1 of this consultation paper, Ministers asked the Chief Social Work Adviser to facilitate this work.
B.3. At present many adult, children and family-based social services are delivered through a single social work service, although there is a varied pattern of provision across the country, depending on local circumstances and need. Social work services also work in collaboration with education, health, the third and independent sectors, and the police, to offer support and services to vulnerable children and families. In designing new approaches for adult services, it is important to ensure that services for all of those who need them, regardless of age, also continue to improve - with skilled staff and leaders, with appropriate resources, with strong local relationships and without creating new barriers to effective delivery.
B.4. As integration of adult health and social care is taken forward it will be important to identify potential risks, and then identify options for addressing and resolving these risks. We must also take the opportunity to identify how the integration proposals can offer scope for improvement to current ways of working across all service areas.
Progress to date
B.5. From January to April 2012 the Chief Social Work Adviser engaged directly with almost 200 people to discuss these issues, through written contributions, meetings and seminars.
B.6. Key issues that have been raised include:
a) Implications arising from integration of adult health and social care for social work and social care services for other categories of users, including issues of user impact, location, accountability, organisational development, performance management and regulation, and workforce practice and development.
b) Issues at the operational level, including any impact on child, adult and public protection, transitions from children's to adult services, the role of Mental Health Officers, the interface with Criminal Justice and Family Support, and the interface between addiction services and alcohol and drug mis-using parents.
c) Cross-cutting services with a role across adult and children services such as carer support, welfare rights, and advice and information, where the approach needs to emphasise avoiding duplication, wasted resources or a reduced level of service being provided to some people, from that which they currently receive.
d) Issues of professional leadership and professional support for both social work and care professionals across these service areas.
B.7. Following the initial period of engagement in the early part of 2012, we anticipate that further work will be required to inform decisions on future actions - for example revisions to guidance, support for operational and practice changes and potentially changes to legislative provisions.
B.8. The Chief Social Work Adviser will continue to facilitate engagement around the aspect of "wider impact" during the consultation period and beyond as part of the overall programme of engagement on the integration proposals. This will ensure that the Scottish Government is able to work with key stakeholders to manage any potential risks, develop ways to address any detriment and make use of wider improvement opportunities which may arise from the integration approaches.
Email: Gill Scott