Short Breaks Consultation with WBC @ REACH Wokingham AGM on 8th March 2017

Present for WBC

Paul Feven (Interim Head of strategic commissioning)

Nicky Hale (Interim Service Manager, Corporate Parenting & Learning Disabilities & Difficulties)

Vanessa Pugh (Interim Strategic Review Lead)

Charlotte Haitham-Taylor (Executive Member for Children’s Services)

At the REACH AGM last Wednesday 8th March, parents were presented with the proposed changes to the short break provision. Paul Feven explained the background to the proposed changes following a commissioning review of the current offering from 18 providers both internal and from the Voluntary and Community Sector.

Nicky Hale outlined proposed changes to the current system which will offer parents either a pre-paid card to eliminate the burden of paperwork and receipts or a continuation of the current direct payments (as many parents were concerned how to pay carers/PA’s that come into their home to provide short breaks).

A new short breaks “preferred provider list” of WBC quality assured services will be developed for parents to choose from as well as the potential for parents to be involved in the commissioning of new services if needs were identified e.g. a reliable sitting service.

Points raised by parents in discussion on Short Breaks were as follows:

  • Take away unassessed services support then you take away a lifeline
  • Access criteria for DCT?
  • Cost analysis for charging parents – what costs would go up?
  • Direct payment assessment – how is it currently used (PA’s vs service providers)
  • Dingley holiday club affected
  • Access to short breaks need to be made easier
  • What will happen to carers that cannot/don’t have capacity to access direct payments/pre-paid cards
  • How can individuals/PA’s/carers/sitters be paid?
  • Can you withdraw cash from pre-paid card?
  • Payroll works well through accountants with some current DP’s
  • Can the card deal with all used/payments (not just short break providers) as parents don’t want to run 2 systems
  • Eligibility
  • Advisors needed for new “employer” status
  • Asking a parent is crisis to set up as a small business – unrealistic ask
  • Need a decent, reliable sitting service
  • Overnight sitters
  • Transport needed to access short breaks for some parents
  • Sitting service that is realistic i.e. not finish at 9.30pm
  • Emergency provision
  • Need more Bridges
  • Child centred, but they all have very different needs
  • First aid/epilepsy/epipen/general medication/knowledge base of disabilities
  • Training of mainstream providers by Me 2 Club
  • Non-disabled children sitting/support to give parents proper respite
  • Increased cost e.g. Challengers if market led
  • Social enterprise model for providers
  • 18month/2 year transition – is this long enough?
  • Pre-diagnosis/ground level/early help – vital
  • Providers already beginning to change business model
  • Involve working with Voluntary organisations to support them
  • Opportunities fund for organisations to support them
  • 2 year transition is too quick
  • Charities all chasing the same pot of decreasing money
  • Parents may be asked to pay upfront for a number of sessions
  • Limited availability of some services
  • What if child end up in hospital will pre-paid session be lost
  • Loads of good provision in Wokingham, don’t want to loose
  • Phase 2 things separately. Introduce cards before decreasing direct payments otherwise there will be a funding gap
  • Charities want to help it is not about the money
  • Dingley a lifeline
  • DA, how will parents know a provider is good/meeting approved standards – LA approved list
  • Reactive process at present for QA
  • Will costs be the same for service if purchased by direct payments vs by LA?
  • Pre-paid cards generally good idea

WBC agreed to feedback answers to parents in 8 weeks