Small Group Discussion, 4 11 2014, Solution Circle, Afternoon Session
Key reflections and issues and problems to solve for participants
- Joint commissioning with health and Education
- Different funding decision making tools RAS, SEN Banding how can we bring these together
- Pooled budgets across public services
- Creative Commissioning:how do we support decision makers to work to outcomes and allow a range of innovative ideas from families
- Austerity, savings how do we work within this pressure while ensuring that families still have the funding that they need to meet good outcomes for their children.
- How to start a pilot of Personal Budgets
- Staff confidence in Personal Budgets
- Problems with the current market, too much tied down with block contracts, in house services excluded from the Personal Budget offer. Too much restriction about what can be bought with a personal budget.
Deciding on the Key issue
Colleagues thought the key issue to discuss this afternoon was:
“Problems with the current market, too much tied down with block contracts, in house services excluded from the PB offer. Too much restriction about what can be bought with a personal budget.”
The colleague who raised the issue was willing to go through the solution circle process of:
- Problem definition
- Clarifying questions about the problem
- Brainstorming a huge amount of solutions to the problem
- The person owning the problem selecting and reflecting on the most useful solutions
- Action planning about one proposed solution
- Identifying the first step of moving towards a solution
Issues from clarifying questions
There is also a problem of decision makers acting in a traditional way, so the scope of what might be bought with a personal budgets is limited. Requests for season tickets, activity costs etc. are likely to be denied regardless of the outcome on the basis that this is not what social care should pay for.
Families tend to view Personal Budgets with suspicion, as unreal and connected to cut backs and therefore there is no take up.
This could change if the council could describe positively the flexibility of Personal Budgets and be willing to approve plans on the basis of good outcomes not on the basis of whether an item of funding might be contentious with others.
Public Services may be convinced to talk to families positively about a range of useful examples of what could be bought with a personal budget if the following solutions were explored:
- Convince fundholders that new creative solutions will be cost effective and not cost more than at present
- Evidence from other areas that this led to good practice
- Explain the new ideas, seasontickets, equipment,holidays, activities are firmly linked to better outcomes than traditional support services.
- Encourage work to begin on in-house services preparing to be a traded service
- Pilot the impact of a traded service with a small group of people
- Show examples of good practice which families are involved in now
- Brief council member’s senior managers
- Explore personal travel budgets
- Discussion with schools about using the pupil premium differently, using the funding for LSA’s for some pupils differently, considering the resources connected to after school clubs, explore practice about personal transition budgets
The chosen most helpful suggested solutions are highlighted
Exploration of actions and first steps
The problem to solve now is really then:
“How can Public Services be convinced to talk to families positively about a range of useful examples of what could be bought with a personal budget?”
The group revisited some of the suggested solutions as actions around this theme. Parent leaders could engage with council officers around points 1, 2,3,6,7, which could be some of the first steps forward in a new discussion.
Martin Donkin In Control Partnerships