Choosing the help from social care that suits you

PEOPLE receiving social care in the Borders are to be given more say in how that care is given in future.

From next month anyone who is eligible for a social work service can, if they wish, take charge of their individual care budget and decide for themselves what care they would like to use it for and who they want to provide that care.

Scottish Borders councillors last week agreed to phase in this new approach to social care that will bring them in line with a Bill currently going through the Scottish Parliament that is expected to be implemented in 2014. The Bill aims to give people more choice in how they receive social care support and will place a duty on local authorities to offer four different options to people in how their support is arranged, including a direct payment.

In preparation for this new style of delivering care SBC has been running a pilot scheme, with 40 of their clients.

Cameron is one of the people who decided to try it out. An accident left him with a brain injury and physical disability and for the last 20 years he has attended his local day service.

He said: “I use my individual budget to employ my own staff who help me to manage my care and the day to day running of the house. It also helps me to pay for gym membership to assist me with my physio programme.

“I am getting support to travel more independently so I’m meeting different people, getting out more and have a more active life. My mum has less to worry about and less to do as she can rely on the carers. Her phone is not always ringing.”

Elaine Torrance, SBC’s acting director of social work, explained: “People eligible for a social work service have for some time had the opportunity to have a direct payment and manage their own care arrangements or to have the service arranged by social work. The difference with self directed support is that it gives more flexibility and choice for people.

“For example one person may prefer social work to arrange a home care service with their identified budget, whereas another person may choose to use some of their individual budget to buy voice recognition software to assist them do their own shopping and keep in contact with relations and friends.

“People involved in the pilot have told us they have felt safer, healthier and more in control.”