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Choice, Control and Independent Living: Putting the Care Act into practice

19 October 2018

DR UK member Merton CIL’s review of the current position of adult social care in the London Borough of Merton, and the way forward.

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Merton CIL has produced this report to explore the experiences of social care users and review the current picture of adult social care in Merton. The goal is to attempt to begin a conversation about genuinely co- productive approach to services in the borough.

The report looks at the overall situation of adult social care in Merton and at four specific areas of concern: assessments, charging, direct payments and safeguarding.

It finds

  • an estimated 1,300 social care users in Merton feel they don’t have enough control over their lives and the services that support them

  • Disabled People in Merton have lower wellbeing than non-Disabled people

  • Merton Council’s policies and information about services on its website are not clear

The report identifies four specific areas of concern around:

  1. needs assessments are not always following the procedures set out by the Care Act and its guidance

  2. charging for adult social care services is having a major impact on the lives of service users and financial assessments for these charges are difficult for people to complete

  3. policies on direct payments, including the focus on pre-payment cards, and delivery of the support service, are limiting choice and control

  4. safeguarding in Merton could work more effectively to ensure people are not left at risk of neglect and abuse

Merton CIL’s overall conclusion is that there is a pattern to the challenges people are experiencing and these are not one-off incidences.

The report makes recommendations for:

  • Improving the evidence base for services

  • Assessments

  • Charging

  • Direct payments

  • Safeguarding
What independence means