In discussing social care, it can been seen within all the national and local policies, practices and procedures, the most important component for both users and professionals is the community care assessment. This is the meeting the minds that allow both parties to lay their cards on the table and to ideally co-produce a support plan together.
I would that assessments are a relevancy costly experience in times and resources, which is not often fully taken advantage of. While staff often raise concern about the time restraints involved, conducting a too short assessment can leave to gaps that need to be filled with further assessments and wasting money.
My concern is that specifically for direct payments users, the attitude of social workers seems to still be ‘here is the money, get on with it’, leaving it to the council funded support agency to pick up the pieces if or when it goes wrong. While this was maybe okay when direct payments was something people had to fight for, now many more people are being providing with them without always knowing what to do.
I would argue that the social worker’s ‘duty of care’ means that they have a responsibility to ensure users know and understand their rights and responsibilities as direct payment users, especially if they propose to employ personal assistants. This includes that they have a plan for when things goes wrong, what happens if they go into hospital, and how to protect themselves from being abused.
In using a rights and responsibilities framework, support plans can be deep and rich documents that provides users in what they need to be empowered to fulfil their outcomes but also with the responsibilities they need to commit to in order to do things properly.