“Getting Social Businesses in on the Act” – Part 4 of 7

8. Where to get in on the Act III: Part 9 of the Act – Co-operation and Partnership and the emerging Regional Partnership Boards

You will have noticed the increasing reference to ‘local authorities and their partners’ and to ‘partnerships’. Part 9 of the Act concerns arrangements for local authority co-operation with relevant partners and partnerships with Local Health Boards to improve well-being outcomes and the efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery.

The duties can be summarised in the following statement:

“My care is planned by me with people working together to understand me, my family, and carer(s) giving me control, and bringing together services to achieve the outcomes important to me.”

Another well-lit route for social businesses seeking new business opportunities is the requirement on local authorities and Local Health Boards to establish ‘Regional Partnership Boards’ to manage and develop services to secure strategic planning and partnership working between them.

The emphasis for social businesses needs to be placed on the role that Regional Partnership Boards will have in implementing the new Act. Particularly noteworthy is the partnership boards’ role in:

  • Overseeing the exercise of social services functions
  • Responding to the population assessment
  • Ensuring all partners are working together effectively to improve the outcomes for people in their regions.

Work with the board!

Opportunities are emerging now for social businesses representatives to identify themselves as one of the ‘other’ stakeholders required in the composition of the Regional Partnership Boards. The wider partners (additional to local authorities and health boards) must be drawn from third sector organisations, people who receive care and support, carers and care providers.

A recent past example is in Powys… ‘As you will be aware, Part 9 of the Social Services and Well Being Act establishes a Regional Partnership Board in Powys to oversee the delivery of health and social care services with and to the people of Powys. PAVO (Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations) has been asked to implement and support a process for recruiting a representative of a national third sector organisation to the board. This is a very important opportunity for the Third Sector to influence decisions about what matters to people. [NB the deadline was the 15th April.]

A list of contact details for the Regional Partnership Boards is below. Their objective is to ensure the partners work effectively together and membership includes two people who represent the interests of third sector organisations. Options to co-opt other representatives to the boards exist.

SSWB table Eng

Get in on the Population Assessments

Section 14 of the Act requires local authorities and Local Health Boards to jointly undertake a population assessment of the needs of the local population for care and support, support for carers and preventative services along with an assessment of the range and level of services required to meet people’s needs. The Boards will determine where the integrated provision of services, care and support will be most beneficial to people in their region. This has to be informed by views of people using services which could involve the further promotion of social businesses delivering services for well-being.

What we hope is intriguing and enticing for social businesses is where the partners have a mutual interest in commissioning services they should work together to consider if alternative not for profit business models will best meet the well-being outcomes of the local population.

The formal partnership arrangements require the establishment of pooled funds in relation to three functions, care home accommodation, family support and as yet undefined services determined by the result of the population assessment. The assessment will be jointly exercised, as will be the resulting services.

The regional implementation managers are the best contact to get you in on the Act via the population assessments. They may well divert queries to others in their regions, but in terms of consistency and a “first point of contact” for each Regional Partnership Board, they are the ones to contact.

Tomorrow’s blog highlights co-production along with Information, Advice and Assistance services.


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