Andy Marriott, Lead Commissioner, All Age Disability Team
The Whole Life Disability Strategy 2018-2023 set out the Council’s vision for people with disabilities of all ages in Staffordshire. The Strategy built upon approaches advocated in Staffordshire’s previous disability strategy “Living My Life My Way” and redefined the role of the Council in meeting the needs for the next five years to 2023.
The new Strategy took account of changes in legislation, including the Care Act 2014, the Children and Families Act 2014 and the Children and Social Work Act 2017.
Key themes for the new Strategy were around ability not disability and building on strengths. There was an aim to provide value for money services that met needs. Choice would be offered but not at any price. It was important to ensure a clear offer to provide clarity, certainty and consistency.
Scrutiny of the new Strategy would be undertaken by County Council Select Committees. A joint meeting of the Safe and Strong Communities, Healthy Staffordshire and Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committees had been held on 30 May and these committees would scrutinise implementation of the Strategy going forward. The H&WB requested that they be kept informed of progress and developments in implementing the Strategy as appropriate.
Members also noted:
· the sensitivity of these changes and the need to reassure those who have previously accessed services through the changes being developed;
· the collaborative approach and the provision of services through the voluntary sector;
· difficulties in developing the market place in the north of the County. The question was raised as to the extent of the community provision for support and would it be adequate;
· changes helping to avoid social isolation;
· the level of special school provision in Staffordshire when compared with other local authorities. Was there national guidance to direct Local Authorities towards an increase in provision or move to integration with mainstream education;
· the concern was raised that there should be review of both speed of assessments for support and response to the findings of those assessments; and
· that existing safeguards giving right of appeal against decisions were if anything strengthened to ensure people with disability were not left without vital support.
RESOLVED : That the comments raised be considered in the preparation of the final version of the Strategy to help inform the final Cabinet decision in June 2018.