Care conversations trial reduces number of people waiting for social care support by 90%

Man receiving support from a care worker

Vulnerable residents are to receive help sooner thanks to the launch of a new ‘conversations’ model by Bracknell Forest Council’s adult social care team.

Following a successful trial, which saw a 90% reduction in the number of people having to wait for a full formal assessment before receiving social care support, the council has launched a new ‘conversational’ approach to assess the needs of residents.

Previously, residents contacting the council for help with something affecting their wellbeing had to fill out a form and wait for a social worker to carry out an assessment. This meant they could be waiting up to 1 to 2 months for non urgent assistance before having their care needs assessed and before they could start receiving support.

The new conversations approach, which launched this month following a trial earlier in the year, forms part of the council’s transformation of its adult social care, health and housing services. The changes mean social care workers now have an open conversation with residents, asking what it is they are struggling with as well as what is working well, so together they can build on those strengths and work through possible options to help meet their needs. From this initial conversation, the team is able to offer a range of short term support options to help resolve the problem and, in many cases, provide immediate help rather than individuals having to wait to have a formal assessment.

Although the numbers of people involved in the pilot were small the results showed that 72% of residents received immediate support and a further 18% received short-term help until a long-term solution was reached. The council is now rolling out this approach to all residents who contact the social care team for support with something affecting their wellbeing.

Cllr Dale Birch, executive member for adult services, health and housing, said:

By working closely with local health and voluntary sector organisations, we have been able to develop a comprehensive local support network which allows us to be more creative with the options we offer residents. Not only will this approach reduce the time people have to wait before receiving support from the council, it will allow us to help people to be independent for as long as possible by remaining connected to their community and making the most of the local facilities available.

This new approach means our social care team can work with people who would not have previously met our eligibility criteria for help, in order to provide immediate advice or short term support, which often prevents a longer term crisis.

For people who do have long-term and complex needs we will provide a formal assessment. However, we will also take the same approach of focusing on the strengths of the individual and their family or network and helping them to find creative, community solutions rather than just commissioning care packages.

The new model has received positive feedback from residents who took part in the pilot. Comments have included:

It was good that all the input happens at once and not over lots of meetings, I have already started to go to a local group.

Dave (my support coordinator) put me in contact with the Stroke Club and since then, they have been to pick me up and I have attended an event.

Chris made everything understandable. I like the way Chris put things.

The changes will in turn help the council meet it’s overall savings target while allowing the authority to continue to support those most in need.

The launch demonstrates how Bracknell Forest Council is playing an instrumental role in supporting the Frimley Health and Care Sustainable Transformation Partnership (STP) between the NHS and local councils, which aims to develop communities and social networks so people have the skills, support and confidence to look after themselves.

For more information on Bracknell Forest Council’s adult social care, health and housing transformation programme, visit our transformation page.