ELECTIONS: Spotlight on social care
Posted on 30/04/2018 by
This week, we have laid out each party's vision for certain key policy areas in Swindon. Today, in their own words, the parties outline their plans for social care
The Conservatives have made firm commitments to protecting the borough’s vulnerable adults and to children as one of the four priorities of the council’s Vision.
With all the legal requirements, these services now require over 70 per cent of the council’s annual budget.
To protect children from all forms of exploitation, the council is investing in more social workers and is working with the police, schools, and the health service to enable prompt action to prevent harm.
In this year’s budget, the Conservatives secured £7.5m additional funding over three years to boost these services.
Through the Swindon Challenge, the council is engaging with teachers, parents, and governors to make sure that more children leave school with higher grades. For this, the Conservatives secured £600,000 extra funding last year.
Building new schools across the borough, including Great Western Academy, Tadpole Farm, and Wichelstowe, has ensured that over 90 per cent of children get a place at their preferred school.
We are working with the NHS, particularly the hospital to reduce bed blocking, with the council’s average delay down to just one day.
We are building assisted living bungalows to allow more people to remain independent while also reducing demand for support services.
Using external specialists. We have been ruthless in challenging spending to keep a control of costs, which is vital given a budget of over
For both adults’ and children’s care, the key to future progress is partnership working. The council cannot do it all.
There is a growing demand for both adults’ and children’s services in Swindon.
Swindon is the only local authority to have closed all its children’s centres and the damage this has caused is readily apparent.
The number of children with Child Protection Plans and Children who are in care are both above the national average and Swindon’s GCSE results are significantly below the national average.
Labour will reintroduce Sure Start Children’s Centres to give Swindon’s children the best start in life, offering support to young parents.
One of the single biggest challenges our elderly and disabled face is isolation.
A nationwide poll of over 65s revealed that 1.3 million people spend the equivalent of two months a year alone.
That is why Labour will roll out our Swindon Neighbourhood Cares scheme. The scheme is based on a model used in Brighton which applies the spirit of good neighbourliness to support older people and people with physical disabilities through increasing the number of local volunteers.
Support from the volunteers happens in a multitude of ways including social visits.
An incoming Labour administration will also sign the Council up to the Unison Ethical Charter. Unison is the largest public service union in the country and has established the charter to set a minimum baseline for the quality and dignity of care.
They do this by setting employment conditions which do not routinely short change care users and ensure the recruitment and retention of a more stable care workforce through sustainable pay, conditions and training levels.
The increasing age of the population of Swindon with more people living longer but with poor health and needing extra care puts pressure on the health service.
When frail older people are admitted to hospital there are delays in letting them return home due to a lack of community services to support and care for them.
Last winter, Swindon’s Great Western Hospital struggled to manage demand leading to long waits for patients in ambulances and in the Emergency Department.
The Liberal Democrats believe that there is chronic underfunding of both health and social care services under the Conservative government.
Local authority budgets have been cut by central government and this is the source of funding for care for older people in the community.
Liberal Democrat councillors support investment in social care and working with partners such as the Clinical Commissioning Group, so that health and social care resources can be brought together offering citizens access to seamless high-quality care.
Swindon’s children are more likely to be living in poverty that the England average and over 300 children are in the council’s care.
An Ofsted inspection found that Swindon had excellent staff working very hard to improve the lives of children; but that there was a shortage of staff.
The Liberal Democrats support investment in the lives of our most vulnerable young people.
This is not only the right, fair thing to do, it is known to improve long term health and social wellbeing.
We believe that the critical issues of care for our youngest and most vulnerable members cannot be left to local authorities when the funding is so uncertain.
We would communicate better with residents to understand their concerns and needs, and to explain exactly how the council budget is allocated and spent.
We would push back strongly against government cuts to council budgets that are part of an austerity narrative that has seen a decline in standards, and life-threatening reductions in services.
As the demographic of our population changes, with the over 65s age group being one of the fastest-growing, we will see ever more pressure placed on dwindling budgets. Lack of affordable care places extra pressure onto an already overstretched NHS. We will continue to make the case for a holistic approach to health and social care, and for adequate funding from central government to fulfil statutory requirements to care for people, and support their carers.
Social cohesion and social mobility continue to suffer while we do not invest adequately in the very youngest most vulnerable people in our town.
We will support and encourage a wide range of community and self-help services for children and their carers in Swindon, including Sure Start children’s centres.
We believe that the cost of social care that is being placed on to the council tax is an utter disgrace.
We shall fight for better funding from the central government and to reduce the tax that is crippling hard working families.
We had another increase this year and last year saw the greatest rise in the county.
Homelessness has become a serious issue in Swindon. Nobody should have to sleep rough in 2018. We aim to promote the use of empty buildings to provide basic shelter and will work with local homelessness charities to achieve this.
Integrate not segregate is our policy.
We shall champion the integration of our many diverse cultures and promote more community spirit and be proud of our town.
Our children are the flower of the nation.
We want to see Sure Start centres reintroduced as part of giving them the best possible start in life.
Child grooming gangs have been rife in other parts of the country, including as locally as Oxford.
We demand that social services and police dedicate all resources necessary to crack down on this growing problem.
Source: Swindon Advertiser