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Frequently asked questions and responses: 156 to 225

The following questions have been asked at different Day Opportunities consultation 2019 events and we have provided answers. This will be updated on an ongoing basis as more questions are asked at different consultation events.

Last updated 15 August 2019

156. How long will Birmingham City Council pay for Personal Assistants before they cut funding for them?

As long as a service user is assessed as having an eligible need funding from Birmingham City Council for a Direct Payments will only be withdrawn if it is shown that a directly funded service has become more appropriate following reassessment or there is a change in financial circumstances.

157. If funding is not suitable or enough to support a Personal Assistant for 5 days how will this work?

The amount and duration of the support provided by a Direct Payment is usually discussed during the initial conversation between the social work staff and the service user.

158. How are Direct Payments worked out?

The social worker and the citizen will meet and discuss/agree on the following:

  1. what service or support is required based on eligible needs
  2. how many hours of care is required per day/week
  3. whether the care will be delivered by a Day Care provider or PA/Carer.

When an indicative cost has been identified the citizen then has to undergo a financial assessment to determine how much Birmingham City Council can financially assist the citizen. This may identify that the citizen is required to contribute to the cost of the care to be provided.

159. Is it explained to service users that once they accept Direct Payment, they are not allowed to buy back their Day Centre placement?

Flexibility is central to direct payments. They can be used as part of a combined package. For example, part of a care package can be provided through direct services, such as an internal day centre, while other parts of the package can be provided through direct payments, enabling someone to live independently and choose their own support. An individual can decide that they do not want to continue with direct payments at any time.

160. Are people informed that if they have a Direct Payment, they can go to a day centre?

Yes, this is part of the conversation between social work staff and the service user who should be informed that a Direct Payment can be used to attend external day care provision which will meet the goals identified in their support plan.

161. Are Direct Payments enough to cover the cost to come to a day centre five days a week?

This is part of the conversation between social work staff and the service user where adequate levels of support funding should be agreed.

162. Have people got genuine choice between Direct Payments and day centres?

Yes, you do have a choice.

163. Are people given the correct information about Direct Payment?

During the conversation between the service user and social work staff the social worker should advise the service user appropriately. All social work staff members have been given appropriate training and should be able to discuss the Direct Payment Scheme.

164. Will there be a change in the way direct payments can be used for example can they be used at the internal day centres?

Direct payments cannot be used to pay for internal day service provision but they can be used as part of a combined package whereby part of the package is provided is provided by direct services (such as an internal day centre) while other parts are provided through direct payments.

165. Can they access Direct Payments if an older person has no ability to access the social worker?

A social worker should be available to discuss issues with any citizen in Birmingham and are contactable through a variety of means. If a social worker is not allocated the department can be contacted via Adults and Communities Access Point (ACAP) on 0121 303 1234.

166. Will providers of ‘care’ be regulated if we use Direct Payments to pay for care?

The very essence of direct payments is to ensure that the service user has choice and control over who and what organisations provide the required care for them, as such it is up to the service user or their representative to ensure that anyone who provides care for an individual has appropriate documentation and qualifications.

167. Can people on Direct Payment change their minds and come back?

If you find that a direct payment is not right for you after all, you can switch to having a service provided by Adult Social Care.

168. We would like to know if a service user would get like for like if using a direct payment

It is part of the conversation between social work staff and the service user that adequate levels of support funding should be agreed. 

169. Will help be available to complete paperwork in the future? (query regarding benefits paperwork and increases should a direct payment be used)

Following the discussion with the social worker all initial set up documentation should be completed by them.

170. At consultation meetings that we attended another important question was asked about whether a person would be able to buy the same number of hours of care and support as they currently get at a day centre if they receive a direct payment. The answer given in the FAQ was: “Many of the day opportunity services provided by organisations external to the council currently support citizens with packages of care funded directly by the council, by Direct payments and/or by self-funding arrangements. All of these groups can access the same services based on their assessed care needs or package of support required”. This doesn’t in any way answer the question that was asked. Please could you answer the following question: Many of those who attend day centres require care and support (in addition to care and support to access activities) throughout the waking day e.g. supervision to keep them safe; assistance with all personal care and so on. If such a person attends a day centre 5 days a week 9:30am to 3:30pm, would they receive a direct payment which is enough to fund the same number of hours from a personal assistant who would provide all the care and support that they need throughout that period?

It is part of the conversation between social work staff and the service user that adequate levels of support funding should be agreed, which would be adjusted as appropriate following a review or reassessment of care needs.

171. Where will Birmingham City Council get the funds to deliver enablement?

If the draft strategy were to be implemented following consideration of the consultation analysis and subsequent decision by Cabinet then the principle of enablement will be further encouraged and will be integral to packages of Day Opportunities care. Resource requirements would be considered if the draft strategy is approved.

172. Where will the money come from considering BCC are cutting the budget every year?

A council budget is set for each financial year which is publicly consulted upon. The money required for Day Opportunities provision will be sourced from the financial allocation provided to the council.

173. From the number of other day centre closure from previous years – who keeps the monies? Does this go back within the BCC pot?

If any type of council service is closed and money released from the closure it is taken by the council as savings which can be reallocated as part of the overall council budget planning process.

174. The Independent living fund (ILF) was dismantled, the money from this was supposed to be ring fenced within adult social care, where has the ££ towards this gone to?

The original budget transferred over from the Independent living fund (ILF) on 1 June 2015. When the funding transferred each client was reassessed and where required consolidated the previous ILF payment with existing Direct Payment.

175. When the council sells the land after closing the day centre what do they do with the money?

The consultation is not about closing particular day centres. In the event that, at some future point, the council proposed the closure of any day centre, then this would be the subject of a separate consultation process.

176. The consultation paper says that the new strategy would require the council to make financial investment in community day opportunities and assets. Please could you provide the details of what the council has identified it would need to invest in? Is there any other planned investment which is to be invested in day centres? If so, could you provide the details of what the council has identified it would need to invest in for day centres?

The consultation has been concerned with establishing the key aspirations of the draft strategy and the proposed day service model for consideration by Cabinet. If the draft strategy were to be implemented following the consultation as decided by Cabinet then resource requirements would be determined at that time.

177. The 2019+ Budget included savings flowing from the new Day Opportunities Strategy in each of the 4 years starting with 2019/20. Please explain in detail how these savings were calculated for each year including where the savings come from?

The 2019+ budget sets out proposals for how the indicative savings - to balance the overall council budget - might be achieved. The savings are only proposals at this stage and are not based on any set calculations nor are they attributed to any specific areas of Day Opportunities provision.

It is not at all unusual for a council’s budget to be set on the basis of identified savings which are dependent on further decisions being taken, by the council, during the course of the financial year.

178. The types of activities referenced in the strategy have been implemented in the past. However, they have stopped due to lack of funding. How can we be sure that this won’t happen again?

The council plan and the associated budget is developed year by year through Cabinet and then through public consultation. The available funding available to the council dictates the council plan. It is not possible to pre-empt the funding which is available for future financial years.

179. How much is the consultation costing?

The costs for the consultation include venue hire, legal counsel, telephone line hire, stationery and printing and travel are currently costed at circa £34k.

180. The council’s budget consultation refers to £2.1m savings from Day Centres - so is this a cost cutting exercise or will it in fact cost more?

The council’s budget consultation is based on indicative figures. Resource requirements for any future day opportunities model will be only be considered if the draft strategy were to be approved by Cabinet.

181. Is this realistically achievable? How long do you think it will take to implement? Is it a 10; 5; 3; 1 year strategy?

The proposed strategy if approved indicates a three year period to introduce the new vision. If the draft strategy is approved by Cabinet a more detailed implementation plan will be developed.

182. Will there be a committee to oversee this (delivery of the strategy)?

If the proposed strategy is approved an implementation group will be formed to oversee the process.

183. What would happen if Cabinet didn’t agree to adopt the final version of the strategy and model?

It is impossible to pre-empt the decision that Cabinet may make.

184. Who are the Cabinet Members?

The most up to date list of Cabinet Members is on the council website.

View council Cabinet Members

185. When does it go to Cabinet, will the dates be announced?

A proposed date of November 2019 is planned. This is an indicative date and is subject to confirmation.

186. Do you take our views into consideration?

The consultation is all about receiving the views of the citizens. Upon receipt of all completed consultation questionnaires, views and comments, an analysis report will be produced.

187. Have central government instructed the council to make these changes locally?

No, central government provide no direct guidance as to what day opportunities provision should look like locally. There is however related guidance / legislation such as the Care Act 2014 and Valuing Employment Now 2009 (DOH) guidance.

188. Where has the strategy for Day Opportunities come from – has it come from above (meaning cabinet and senior management)?

The proposed strategy was drafted in consultation with citizens and staff within the Adult Social Care Directorate. Elected members were also consulted and informed the content.

189. Did this consultation come through MPs to view before the public?

No, it was not presented to MPs to view before the public. However, some MPs have chosen to subsequently comment on the draft strategy as part of the consultation process.

190. When will we know the outcome of the consultation given that the time scales have been amended?

Following the completion of the consultation period an analysis report will be produced. We aim to present the report to Cabinet in November 2019. This date is indicative and is subject to confirmation.

191. Would it not be beneficial to have carers on the panel who have a better understanding of the caring responsibilities be involved instead of members of BCC who can make relevant changes?

The consultation exercise has ensured that there has been a particular focus on carers as they are identified as being very important to forming the future proposed strategy. Birmingham City Council is currently consulting only on the proposed key aspirations of the draft Strategy and the proposed day service model. If the draft strategy is approved by Cabinet a more detailed implementation plan will be developed.

192. The decision already seemed to be made, has this not been a waste of time a192. nd money which could have been spent elsewhere, due to the amount of paperwork being printed during these consultations?

There is a clear consultation process which the council has to adhere to. This culminates with Cabinet making a decision regards the future of the proposed strategy. The council wanted to ensure that citizens are clearly informed by having access to all relevant documents. This is of particular importance to citizens who do not have access to electronic documents. The public also requested that additional documents be made available.

193. What impact assessments have been carried out with regard to the draft strategy?

No impact assessments have been completed with regards to the consultation. However, if the draft strategy were to be approved by Cabinet then all future potential risks will be assessed.

194. In terms of strategic planning should it not be prudent to include a plan?

Birmingham City Council has consulted only on the proposed key aspirations of the draft strategy and the proposed day service model. The council consider that any plan as to how the proposed strategy would pre-determine the Cabinet decision regards the approval of the strategy. On page 18 of the draft strategy there is a high-level outline plan which identifies the areas that would need consideration if the draft strategy were to be implemented.

195. Where are the senior managers/decision makers to answer these questions?

Senior managers are an integral part of the process regards answering the questions posed by citizens during the consultation process. The council decided the best approach regards the answering of questions during the consultation was to accept questions raised by citizens and then for council officers to research responses and to present the answers on-line and in paper form. This is so that all citizens can see all of the questions asked and all of the answers made. This process also meant that the answers were as accurate as possible. It was considered that it was in no one’s interest if there were inaccuracies in responses. Senior management were part of this process of answering all questions posed.

196. Can you confirm that information sharing about the consultation has been consistent across all day care centres?

The council has identified that consistency of approach regards the implementation of the consultation is an important principle which has been adhered to. This includes information sharing about the consultation being consistent across all day care centres.

197. How much does BCC think the numbers choosing day care centres will change?

There is data showing that younger people are not choosing the current Day Centre provision in the volume they once did. This trend has been in place for a few years now and before this draft strategy work commenced.

198. Do the proposals factor in issues related to age, gender and race and culture?

One of the aspirations for the proposed strategy is that future provision is based on a person centred planning approach, which would include consideration of such factors as age, gender, race and culture. If the draft strategy is approved consideration may well be given to developing provision which specifically takes into consideration these factors.

199. Why is it called consultation?

The purpose of a council run consultation is to enable citizens to give consideration to a proposal presented by a council and to then receive responses on any such proposal, in this case this relates to day opportunities for the future. This consultation process invites the views from Birmingham citizens, including those receiving social care support and their carers and families.

200. If people are not happy how do they complain? If they are not happy with the outcome of the consultation?

There is a formal council complaints procedure if someone is not happy with the way the consultation was conducted. The consultation analysis report will reflect the views of all who contributed to the process.

201. How will people be notified about the outcomes of the consultation?

An analysis report will be drawn up of the findings and outcomes of the consultation. This will be part of the report presented to the council’s Cabinet meeting. The analysis report will be published in line with the standard process for all cabinet documentation.

202. Is this the first strategy - or is there an old one?

A draft Day Opportunities strategy was approved by Cabinet on the 31st July 2018. Birmingham City Council agreed to rescind the decision in December 2018. The draft strategy which is being consulted upon is new.

203. What is the point of someone else filling in this form if you proclaim this is person centred?

Some people have communication difficulties including being unable to read, write and speak, or communicate in English so an advocate has been needed to assist these individuals complete their consultation responses. This is expected to be undertaken in a person centred way i.e. reflecting the wishes of the individual. The advocate has often been a family member or a member of staff at the day centre who knows the individual well.

204. Why has it been changed from Service User to Citizen?

Generally, the council defines a service user as someone who uses a service directly including Day Opportunities. A citizen is anyone who lives in Birmingham and therefore is a member of the general public. A person can be a service user as well as a citizen.

205. If we all decided we’ve had enough and left our people outside the Council House, what are you going to do?

We want to work with carers and service users to consider and implement the proposed strategy in a measured and safe way, if the draft strategy is approved by Cabinet.

206. What if this is the wrong vision?

Similar visions and strategies have been adopted in other parts of the country so this approach has been tried and tested for over 10 years.

207. What happens if the public disagree with the decision made by the council/cabinet?

The draft strategy is being developed through the consultation process with the aim of the Council understanding the views of the public, based on evidenced feedback.

208. How will people get back the questions and comments?

All questions and comments are posted within these pages on the Council Day Opportunities website.

They can also be made available by request in hard paper copies by phoning 0121 303 5012, or by Next Generation Text, dial 18001 before the full national phone number, or by Minicom 0121 303 1119.

209. Why was the 2018 cabinet report quashed?

A Day Opportunities strategy was presented to Cabinet on 31 July 2018. Birmingham City Council agreed to rescind the decision in December 2018. The draft strategy which is being consulted upon is a new strategy. The underlying principles of the strategies are essentially the same

210. Will it be more focused for the learning disability than older people? (Cllr Hamilton amended text)

The proposed strategy has been created to address the needs of the range of different service users who use or may use day opportunities provision into the future. This includes people with a learning disability, autism, older people, people with a physical disability, people with mental health issues and any other group with eligible support needs.

211. How can you expect people to vote on something like this?

The council is not asking people to vote but to express their views through the consultation process. It is probable that there will be a range of different views that will need to be considered.

212. Would there be many more of these meetings? When does it finish?

The consultation was originally planned to run for a ninety day period from 8 April 2019 to 6 July 2019. However, Birmingham City Council extended the consultation period to 4 August 2019, this is the date it closed. However, the council is continuing to update the frequently asked questions and responses section of the Day Opportunities Consultation 2019 website, this will be finalised on Friday 16 August 2019. There is still the opportunity to send in your views and comments which may be informed by the updated frequently asked questions and responses. The closing date for any further views and comments is Friday 23 August 2019.

213. Can’t argue with the principles but is there a reassurance that if something is working then it will not change?

The council identifies that there are areas of good practice already operating within the currently available day opportunities provision.

214. Will social work teams be consulted/informed about the strategy?

The consultation was publicised across the adult social care workforce and encouraged everyone to respond to share their views.

215. Will there be specialist social workers who understands clients' needs?

Within the constituency social care teams there are individuals who have specialist knowledge about the needs of adults who are eligible for support.

216. How can BCC allow vulnerable adults to go to unregulated providers?

Currently, there is no regulation process for day opportunities providers. The council is applying a set of quality standards for non-council provided services.

217. What about when people don’t have carers or parents to help them?

Birmingham City Council commissions an organisation called POhWER to provide the Birmingham Advocacy Hub. The Hub offers free, confidential and independent advocacy services to help people understand their rights, be treated as equals and be heard.

The Birmingham Advocacy Hub delivers the following services:

  • Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy (IMCA)
  • Relevant Person's Paid Representative (RPPR)
  • Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA)
  • Care Act Advocacy
  • NHS Complaints Advocacy
  • Community Advocacy
  • Group, Citizen and Peer Advocacy

Visit the POhWER hub

218. Who will make the decision if a Day Centre is closed?

Birmingham City Council is consulting on the key aspirations of the draft strategy and the proposed day service model.

219. Transport is a big problem. Will transport staff be trained?

If the draft strategy were to be approved this will be an area for further development with our partners.

220. Will the current generation be sacrificed for the new generation?

The draft strategy is inclusive of all adults age 18+ who are eligible for support from Adult Social Care. The draft strategy proposes that individuals will be supported to identify the best solution to meet their needs.

221. What are the guidelines of people who have been diagnosed with early on set dementia involving the help and support that can be given?

All adults who are eligible for support from Adult Social Care will be provided with information about the help and support that is available to them to meet their needs. This includes those who have been diagnosed with early on set dementia.

222. Why can’t the local authority look at a different way of funding the centres e.g. opening an empty shop – recycle shop where service user can also go along and work on a rota basis?

Ideas such as this will be retained and if the draft strategy were to be approved by Cabinet then they can be looked at as part of any planning that might take place.

223. Can you get wheelchairs on the public buses?

Birmingham City Council recognises that some people who use wheelchairs face challenges when using a range of public transport.

224. When is all this wonderful work going to happen? e.g. educating organisations and the public to better understand the work with people who have very complex needs transitioning from Children Services to Adult Social Care. Unless you really fight you don’t get a service.

Changing public attitudes is often a long process. Addressing issues of this nature requires a multi-agency approach and is not the sole responsibility of Adult Social Care. There is already an established partnership between Disabled Children’s Social Care and Adult Social Care.

225. Do people actually remember consultation i.e. Service users that have memory impairment/non-verbal?

The consultation was inclusive so provided opportunities for people to share their views regardless of their ability.