Agenda item

Kent Adult Carers' Strategy One Year On


Mrs Clair Bell (Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care & Public Health), Mr Richard Smith (Corporate Director Adult Social Care & Health) and Mr Simon Mitchell (Interim Head of Adults Commissioning) were in attendance for this item.


1.    Mrs Bell introduced the item, explaining that the delivery plan had been co-developed with stakeholders and a key aspect of this was the establishment of the Kent Carers Forum.  The Kent Adult Carers’ Strategy was closely aligned with the overarching Marking a Difference Every Day Strategy for Adult Social Care.  


2.    Members discussed the report and asked questions to Mrs Bell, Mr Smith & Mr Mitchell, these included:

a)    A Member praised the ‘telling your story once’ initiative and highlighted the importance of effective and efficient communication.

b)    A Member asked if KCC liaised with health trusts on technology to ensure there was joined up working with compatible systems, particularly where areas of responsibility overlapped. Mrs Bell commented on the importance of a joined-up approach to technology. Mr Smith told Members that KCC worked closely with the digital lead at the NHS and that whilst services weren’t jointly commissioned steps were being taken to co-operate with the NHS on technology.

c)    A Member commended carers and raised National Carers Week.

d)    A Member asked what was prioritised in the Kent Carers Strategy and how this was decided. Mrs Bell told Members that the priorities were based on feedback from service users. The Member asked if there was data to demonstrate the progress of delivery on key priorities. Mrs Bell told Members that the strategy set out the desired outcomes, and the delivery plan explored the best ways to reach those outcomes. Mrs Bell confirmed that progress on those targets could be reported on in future.

e)    A Member highlighted the importance of carers receiving cover to allow them to take breaks and asked whether respite rates had increased recently. Mrs Bell told Members that KCC did have a contract in place which allowed carers to take short breaks. Mr Mitchell elaborated that carers could receive direct payments or get cover via the contract. A Member asked if the contract was sufficient for demand. Mr Mitchell responded that they provided this service to the carers who came forward but as not all eligible carers were known to KCC, it was not possible to assist all carers.

f)      A Member raised concerns about burnout within the carer community and asked what the impact on KCC was when a carer was no longer able to provide care. Mr Mitchell responded that when carers were unable to provide support for any reason, the person in need of care would fall under KCC’s statutory responsibility. The Member then asked if there had been an increase in this and asked for any evidence. Mr Mitchell said that it would be difficult to assess as individuals’ circumstances varied greatly. Mr Smith told Members of the importance of early investment in carers and ensuring that they were aware of the options available to them. He then spoke of the challenges of collating data across services including KCC, District Councils, GPs and the NHS.

g)    A Member asked how prevention could be evidenced and its impact assessed. Mr Smith explained that Adult Social Care was a demand driven service and that due to resource constraints KCC must identify risk and allocate resources. The Member asked how long assessments were taking and if the time taken to complete assessments impacted care. Mr Smith told Members that a range of services don’t require assessments, some require limited assessments and others in-depth assessments. He told Members the length varied across assessments, and he could not provide one specific time frame. Mr Mitchell added that the first point of contact of the carer also impacted timeframes he told Members he could gather data from KCC’s providers.

h)    A Member asked if integration between GPs, the NHS and KCC existed to assist the spouses of those suffering from dementia and flag concerns. Mrs Bell confirmed that such a link did not currently exist and expressed concerns around GDPR. She told Members that the Health Care Record was being developed to link up healthcare services. Mr Mitchell explained that a dementia co-ordinator service had been put in place and that these co-ordinators provided support to the individual and their family.

i)      A Member asked if Mrs Bell could elaborate on what type of technology had been used or developed to assist carers. Mrs Bell told Members that sensors, movement monitors and Alexa-like devices had been utilised. Mr Mitchell said that the programme would continue to evolve over time as new technologies became available.

j)      A Member asked what support was available when it came to transport for carers. Mr Mitchell told Members that this would depend on personal circumstances but as part of the assistance they provided to carers KCC looked at the best option for each individual case.

k)    A Member raised their trepidation in noting that progress had been made given the lack of data provided to the Committee. Mrs Bell responded that whilst she understood that a lot of the work was in its infancy, that delivering in these areas was important.


RESOLVED that Committee notes the progress of the Kent Adult Carers’ Strategy.


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