Thursday, 20 December 2012

Herald letters: Glasgow City UNISON on Self Directed Support, personalisation and adult social care

The Herald Letters Thu 20 Dec 2012

ONE of the biggest factors contributing to the reduction in support to disabled people in Glasgow is the individual needs assessment and resource allocation system which is used to calculate a person's individual care budget. Members of our trade union whose job it is to undertake these assessments have repeatedly told Unison that the system is primarily geared to ensure a budget which provides only a basic level of support. Self-Directed Support (SDS) and personalisation should of course be about much more and include notions of full social participation, active citizenship and maximising employment and education opportunities.

The fact that Glasgow City Council's current position is to cut 11% from the city's £90m adult social care budget through personalisation, including a 53% cut in the learning disability day service workforce, is perhaps the reason why so many people don't believe council officials when they talk about promoting independence and choice through the current proposals. Genuine SDS and personalisation costs money and should not be seen as a cheap alternative.

Those who oppose the cuts to the council's learning disability services should strongly argue that the individual needs assessment and resource allocation system is radically improved to reflect a genuine personalised approach. Our politicians should also be campaigning for more money overall for the city's vital services rather than just passing on the Coalition Government's cuts.

Secondly, the characterisation by some senior council officials of the current services as "exclusive and institutionalised" is a misrepresentation of what actually happens on the ground. Many individuals are currently supported by the council's day service workforce to access community-based leisure, social and educational opportunities.

Could this be better funded and managed? Of course. However the setting-up of "straw men" who can then be publicly knocked down is not a helpful contribution to the debate on how best to organise social work services in Glasgow.

Brian Smith, Branch secretary, Unison Glasgow City, 84 Bell Street, Glasgow.


No comments:

Post a Comment