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Channel 4 Documentary: Under Lock and Key (Wed 1st March, 10pm)

A preview ‘ad’ on Channel 4 last night alerted me to an upcoming documentary ‘Under Lock and Key’ to be screened on Wednesday (1st March) at 10pm, which might be more rewarding viewing than the news.

The program’s page on the Channel 4 website describes it thus: “How best can suitable care be provided for young people with severe learning disabilities?  Thousands of young people with severe learning disabilities and autism are still locked up in hospitals, despite government promises. How best can appropriate care be provided for people who need it?”

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DRUK publishes its submission to DWP’s Green Paper “Improving Lives”

Just received from Disability Rights UK (DRUK): a copy of its response to the DWP’s  Work, Health and Disability Green Paper “Improving Lives”.

In it DRUK makes 25 recommendations for halving the disability employment gap consultation.

DRUK begins by  listing its ‘Top Ten’ priority recommendations.

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Uncoordinated regulation of shared accommodation for ‘vulnerable people’

I’ll fess up: as the father of an autistic son in supported living  in a Housing Association multi-unit property, I had no idea that my son’s housing was regulated by the Homes and Communities Agency. I noted  the following exchange (Parliamentary Question and Answer) and thought ‘Why, when it comes  to learning disability, is every aspect of provision and regulation so complicated?’ (The phrase ‘Byzantine complexity’ just won’t go away). So let’s hope the Minister and/or the CQC keep their word and we end up with ‘a more targeted, responsive and collaborative approach’…

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CQC and its Regulatory Role (FFPR for Directors of Providers)

I feel like I’m being bombarded via tweets and emails from various parties, including the CQC, on the issue of the CQC and the regulation of care services, with many parties having opinions on the (in)effectiveness of the CQC in its various regulatory functions i.e. its fitness for purpose. Some ask whether it is adequately resourced, whether it is  adequately funded, or whether its role is too wide-ranging. (Reminder to self to update this blog post with some of the issues being debated). The CQC itself seems to be carrying out a series of consultations on its role (Again, I will try to update this blog with details).

And then I’m alerted to this exchange (Written Question & Answer) in the Commons considering the CQC effectiveness as a regulator of Providers in terms of Directors meeting Fit and Proper Persons standards.

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Dodgy and defensible cuts

Just ‘recovering’ from the January webinar from Belinda Schwehr… on the Care Act, Reviews, Revisions and Reassessments.

Important, informative stuff but it makes your brain hurt. Webinars details are on Belinda’s blog website www.schwehroncare.co.uk .

The webinars are protected intellectual property; but for once, and because some of the content is so jaw-dropping, Belinda has made some slides on dodgy and defensible types of cuts. Continue reading

Why don’t we have a National Care Service?

There has been a lot written recently about the affects of local authority funding cuts on social care. Access to care is now very much a postcode lottery and the whole process is disjointed and in some cases totally shambolic.
Isn’t it about time we looked at a different way to take care of those who through illness, infirmity or a lifelong disability, are unable to look after themselves? A National Care Service.

My focus in this blog is obviously on learning disability, a lifelong condition for which there is no cure and thus care should be a fundamental right.  What would this national care service offer to learning disabled people? Continue reading

Advance notice of ‘the most important week for the Mental Capacity Act in several years’

Just received via an alert from the news service of  39 Essex Chambers (experts on Mental Capacity Act and Court of Protection cases)

“In the most important week for the Mental Capacity Act in several years, two critical aspects of the law in this area will be under scrutiny in the week of 12th December.   On the 13th and 14th, the Court of Appeal will be considering the question of what deprivation of liberty looks like in the intensive care setting in the appeal against the decision of the Divisional Court in R (LF) v HM Chief Coroner for Inner London (South).  This issue is of major significance for all those in clinical practice, and the decision of the Court of Appeal is also likely to have wider ramifications as the first appellate level consideration in any detail of the meaning of the “acid test” set down by the Supreme Court decision in Cheshire West.   On the 14th and 15th, the Supreme Court will, itself, be considering the division between the Court of Protection and the Administrative Court in the appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal in Re MN, and asking – in essence – whether those concerned with making best interests decision in or out of the Court of Protection are confined to choosing between options that are actually available to the person concerned.   The Supreme Court hearing will be streamed live at https://www.supremecourt.uk/. ”

Complicated but important. We will try to publish news of decisions and reactions.

 

Legislation, Legislation, Legislation…

RE Children and Social Work Bill [Lords]  in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 10th January 2017…

I received an email alert to a relevant debate in a Lords Committee two days ago (10th Jan), and specifically to the contribution of shadow children’s minister Emma Lewell-Buck.

I have to admit that I am not really up to speed with the proposals in the Children and Social Work Bill (It is hard enough keeping up to speed with the Care Act and the Children and Families Act, whilst still remembering the good old Mental Capacity Act), but Emma Lewell-Buck clearly had major concerns:

“The Minister is asking us to approve a power that threatens vast swathes of hard-fought legislation that was carefully crafted in the proper way, rooted in robust evidence and consultation with the sector, children and families, often in the wake of tragedies and failures that should not have occurred, and that had cross-party commitment to better protect and provide for children and young people.
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Expert answers difficult questions on Direct Payments.

Having discovered recently that the Care Act and its Guidance have superseded all previous legislation and guidance on Direct Payments (you live and learn), I was interested to see the following article in Community Care online, which deserves a wide audience.

Whilst technically a ‘Q&A’ session, the article by Belinda Schwehr considered the ‘big questions’ about Direct Payments, around entitlement and access:

  • Are direct payments a right?

  • How can local authorities legitimately restrict  their use?

Please read it in full if you have the time and are at all interested or involved with direct payments. Continue reading

Nicola Sturgeon announces new flexible childcare policy and review of the care system

nicolasAmongst the ‘other stuff’ in Nicola Sturgeon’s keynote speech to the SNP conference, e.g. a second referendum bill, there were some interesting and important announcements on social policy.

These included changes to childcare policy, and to the care system for looked-after children, and a wider review of the whole care system in Scotland.

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