An Innovation Fund is to be established by North Yorkshire County Council as part of its commitment to ensuring that its adult social care provision remains a national benchmark … despite increasing pressures on funding.
In what it believes to be a unique approach to budget and efficiency targets with the voluntary sector, the council is using the financial pressures as an opportunity to transform many of the services it is purchasing from the voluntary sector – while at the same time investing more money in low level prevention services.
Corporate Director of Adult and Community Services Derek Law said: ‘We have always believed it is better to support people early and so reduce the need for people to access traditional and expensive services for as long as possible. Now is not the time to reduce investment in prevention.”
Because of other reductions and negotiations elsewhere Adult and Community Services will be seeking lower than anticipated efficiencies of some £670,000 from the voluntary sector both through efficiency drives and by asking all organisations to contribute a percentage cut by tightening their belts.
To help the voluntary sector organisations change and adjust and, at the same time, help transform how services are delivered, the Council is setting up an ‘Innovation Fund’ from its Local Area Agreement (LAA) Performance Reward Grant. The Fund will make available £1,578,000 in three annual traunches of £500k, £578k and £500k respectively, starting in April 2011. Voluntary sector organisations with innovative solutions to social care issues will be invited to apply for consideration under the scheme.
The approach being taken will not only result in a transformation of services but will also see more rather than less investment in low level prevention services.
During this period the Council will also seek to reinvest some of the finance it presently uses to deliver services directly itself in the voluntary sector as the sector develops different and more innovative approaches.
“Three months ago, the Government singled out North Yorkshire’s adult social care provision as an example of best practice nationally,” added Mr Law.
“Andrew Lansley, the Secretary of State for Health, cited North Yorkshire County Council’s telecare service as being an exemplar for their sustainable approach to care delivery.
“He recognised the current budget pressures and talked about the need to deliver social care in different ways, through new ideas like using technology, such as telecare and telehealth. The launch of the Innovation Fund is a further example of how North Yorkshire intends to remain at the forefront of best practice nationally.”
At the same time, the council is in discussions with the NHS on how together they can create, using NHS money, more “out of hospital” services and also a range of other services aimed at keeping people well supported in their homes and communities.
All of this is in addition to the Active Communities Fund of £215,000, a Corporate Council investment of one off money to support the Voluntary and Community Sector to work in communities promoting community activity and the Community Foundation investment of £600,000.
North Yorkshire County Council’s Adult and Community Services aims to start its three month dialogue with the voluntary sector on 1st March and its approach is outlined in its document which will be on the Council’s website from that date at www.northyorks.gov.uk/voluntarysector
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