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Scrutiny committee considers LD plans

20 February 2020

At a three-hour meeting today, the scrutiny committee examined the county council’s life opportunities plans.

Life opportunities aims to support people with the most complex needs and help those capable of being more independent to develop life skills and, if possible, find work.

The committee heard evidence from members of the Disability Norfolk Network Group and Family Voice Network and questioned council officers and the cabinet member for adult social care, public health and prevention.

Councillors unanimously backed the new service and made recommendations for further involvement of people with learning disabilities in future phases.

Scrutiny committee chair, Councillor Steve Morphew, said: “This was a really valuable meeting, which identified opportunities to build the involvement of people with learning disabilities and their families in shaping the service, by involving them in contracts and monitoring.

“We’ve also advised the cabinet to look at how the council carries out the consultation and co-production of services, to ensure the views of affected groups are fully reflected.

“Scrutiny provides a really important opportunity to step back from party divisions and look at issues from the perspective of those that really matter – the residents that will be affected.”

Background:

At the moment, the council commissions day services for around 1,400 people with learning disabilities. Services, from 64 providers, are operated from a range of venues across the county, usually from 9am-5pm on weekdays. Average attendance is three days a week.

The proposed new Life Opportunities model has three levels, known as pathways:

  • Wellbeing – providing meaningful activity, social support and care for those with the most complex needs
  • Promoting Independence – supporting people to develop life skills and access community provision and services
  • Skills and Employment – supporting people to obtain paid work

The council will go out to tender for the skills and employment service and then pilot the wellbeing and promoting independence services, before formally introducing them in 2021.

The changes will not affect the amount the council spends on these services - £14 million per year.

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