Caring for the vulnerable in our community means support must exist to help them remain at home for as long as possible.
The adage ‘Home is where the heart is’ rings true for all of us. Our homes after all are places where life happens; where great memories are made of happy times with our family and friends. We all have things we cherish about our homes – from a garden view, a comfortable chair or simply the sigh of relief we all feel closing the door after a busy day.
For older people and those living with complex needs, they are also places of dignity and independence. We know that staying at home means remaining part of the community and being able to pop to the local shop or chatting with neighbours can really help to reduce loneliness and isolation.
At the moment, in Kensington and Chelsea there are approximately 3,200 residents receiving care, 2,900 in their own homes or in the community and just 300 in residential homes. Keeping so many people at home is only possible if support exists and the right care packages are in place.
In recent years it’s fair to say the Council has had to make quite a few difficult decisions. But by reducing our back-office functions and sharing services with our neighbours, we have been able to protect services for those in our community who need it the most.
As part of this, I’m proud to say that we have recently reaffirmed our commitment to our vulnerable residents by agreeing to fund a generous package of care that covers several levels of need.
Eligibility for social care is set out in the Care Act 2014 which made significant changes by doing away with the old system with its four levels of need: critical, substantial, moderate and low, and replacing it with a new set of eligibility criteria.
Under the old regime, the Council was one of only a handful still meeting moderate needs and above – helping keep people in their homes for as long as possible.
For us the new system wasn’t as generous and wouldn’t quite cover all those who had been receiving social care. We didn’t want to stop providing care for some residents and so, to retain flexibility over who we could help, we developed our own local care arrangements.
The Royal Borough is now one of the few authorities, possibly the only one in the country, that provides care for such a broad spectrum of need. That is something we can all celebrate.