A new way of delivering day opportunities for adults with learning or physical disabilities which has been developed using feedback from residents will be discussed by Peterborough City Council's Cabinet on Friday 20 March 2015.
In December, Cabinet agreed to consult on a proposal which looks to reduce the amount of time people spend in traditional leisure-based day centres, by providing them with the skills to become more independent at home and in their communities and to access employment opportunities.
Currently the city council runs two traditional day centres for adults under 65 with learning or physical disabilities. These are Fletton Day Centre and Kingfisher Day Centre. In addition, employment support is available from centres at 1-2 Westcombe Square, 441 Lincoln Road and 49 Lincoln Road.
The original proposal, which was consulted upon in January and February, was for all services to be transferred to one provider to run on the council's behalf.
However, the consultation responses showed that although people were by and large happy with the proposed shape of the future model, the biggest concern was that services would be transferred to an external provider. People were also concerned that all the day opportunities would be provided by the independent sector and there would be no mixed economy of provision (ie, local authority, independent, voluntary etc) in Peterborough.
Overall people's preference was for the service to remain part of the city council and to be modernised.
As a result, a new proposal will be considered by Cabinet on 20 March. This is for services to be provided by City College Peterborough, which is operated by the city council at arm's length.
Wendi Ogle-Welbourn, Corporate Director: People and Communities, said: "The whole point of the consultation was to find out what people thought to the original proposal so that we could see if it was the best way forward. It is quite clear from the responses that people would like to see services develop so that they better meet people's needs. However, there were concerns about all day opportunities being transferred to an independent organisation.
"I'm delighted that we have found a way to provide a more modern day opportunities programme, in a way that keeps services in-house and provided by a range of different sectors. This is what service users told us they wanted and this is what we are asking Cabinet to approve. In addition, City College Peterborough is able to apply for funding under its charitable arm that we are not able to as a local authority.
"The new model will better support people to reach their full potential in life. It will support people to develop skills which will help them to gain employment and/or skills which will support them to live independently. It will also support those with complex needs with a more targeted approach to ensure that their needs are met."
If Cabinet approves the proposal, City College Peterborough would then be tasked with working with residents, the council and other organisations to redesign day opportunities.
The new model will support people with less complex needs through a combination of employment related services, community satellite centres and where possible, with personal assistants.
Employment related activities will continue to be offered though a range of supported employment, voluntary work and paid employment. The ultimate aim will be to allow people to be more independent and secure paid employment wherever possible.
Investment will also be made in up to four new community based satellite centres which will offer people the chance to develop their independent living and employment skills and socialise with people and groups in their community who can support them. The satellite centres will be fully equipped to provide assisted changing facilities including bathing/showering provision.
The main focus will be supporting people to move away from traditional leisure-based activities towards services which promote greater independence, employment opportunities and the development of ordinary living skills.
Councillor Wayne Fitzgerald, cabinet member for adult social care, said: "We want our day opportunities to support people to reach their full potential in life. The new model will better support people to gain employment and earn a living, to live independently and to make links in their communities, thereby reducing their dependency on adult social care. This is good for the individual as it will offer them new opportunities in life and it's good for the council as it means fewer people will require our care and support.
"We currently run 12 micro-enterprises where people can gain employment skills and earn a living, including a car wash and lunchtime delivery service. The feedback from service users and their families is fantastic and overall there has been a reduction in the amount of intensive support received by some people. The new service model, amongst other things, will look to develop these opportunities.
"We appreciate there are a small number of people with complex needs who may not feel able, or indeed be able, to change the care that they receive and their needs will continue to be met."
Currently the council-run day opportunities cost £1.7million each year. The new proposed model would generate savings in the region of £292,453 in 2015/16. Further savings of £307,547 are expected to be achieved per annum on the day opportunities commissioned by the council from the independent sector through contract negotiation. In addition, the council would invest £500,000 in ensuring that buildings and appropriate facilities are able to provide the right environment to deliver the wider range of services we want to offer locally.
All staff will continue to be employed by the city council under their current terms and conditions.