Publication of Experts’ Report on Adult Care and Support

Date published: 11 December 2017

The Expert Advisory Panel Report, ‘Power to People: proposals to reboot adult care and support in NI’ was published today.

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The Panel was established by the Department in December 2016 as part of the Department’s Reform of Adult Care and Support project.

The Report outlines the Panel’s independent analysis of the current system of support and identification of priority areas for reform.

While recognising that there are some positives within the current system, the report identifies a number of priority areas for reform.  These include raising the profile of social care, increased emphasis on giving control to service users and supporting family carers and building on existing supports within communities.  The report also calls for improved conditions for the social care workforce, and for an appraisal of the true cost of providing care and support. These reforms, the report says, should be considered in the context of a society-wide debate on the roles and responsibilities of individuals, families, communities and government within a reformed system of support.

NI Chief Social Worker Sean Holland said: “I welcome the Panel’s important analysis and thank panel members Des Kelly and John Kennedy for their views and recommendations.

“It is clear that, to remain sustainable, adult care and support services will have to undergo significant change.  Those changes are best considered within the context of system-wide transformation in line with the ten-year plan for Health and Social Care transformation, set out in ‘Health and Wellbeing 2026, Delivering Together’.

“The Panel has been clear about the need for carers and service users to be brought into the heart of transformation, and for a wider debate within society.  As a first step, therefore, the Department intends to discuss with stakeholders about how best to ensure all voices are heard in developing an effective way forward through co-production.   With this embedded, the next stage in the process will be to develop an Action Plan setting out the response to the Panel’s report.  It is intended that the Action Plan will be issued for public consultation after extensive engagement and consultation.”

Notes to editors: 

1. The Panel was established by the former Minister of Health Michelle O’Neill MLA in December 2016.  As part of the Department’s Reform of Adult Care and Support project, the Panel was tasked with identifying priority areas for reform.

2. Des Kelly has a background in the residential care sector with both older people and other adults. From 2003-2016 Des was the Executive Director of the National Care Forum (NCF), a membership based organisation established to promote quality care outcomes for people receiving care and support services through the not-for-profit sector in UK.   Des was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June 2007 for services to social care.  In July 2013 he was appointed a Commissioner on the Demos-supported Commission on Residential Care chaired by former Minister Paul Burstow MP.  He has a continuing interest in improving quality for those receiving care and support services, workforce development, innovation and change.

3. John Kennedy is an independent consultant in social care, with extensive experience in both social care operations and policy development in GB.  From January 2001 to December 2015 he worked for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation/Joseph Rowntree Housing Trust, where he was responsible for the strategic direction of the Care Services Department.  He is currently a trustee of the Wilberforce Trust, which is a charity providing accommodation and services to adults with learning disabilities.  He is also a trustee of the Residential Forum, the purpose of which is to promote the achievement of high standards of care for children and adults in nursing homes, residential homes and schools, and was recently appointed Honorary Lecturer at City University London. 

4. The Panel’s work has been informed by extensive engagement with stakeholders through a call for evidence, workshops, meetings and site visits.

5. The panel’s report is available online.

6. The Panel’s report identifies 16 proposals for change along the following themes:

  • the value of Social Care
  • the Citizen at the Heart
  • Family Carers – Vital Partners for Social Care
  • Building Resilient Communities
  • the Professional Workforce in Social Care
  • the Market for Care
  • System Alignment – Making Integration Meaningful
  • towards a new Concordat

7. For media enquiries please contact the DoH Press Office 028 9052 0575 or email Out of hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned. Follow us on twitter @healthdpt

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