Workshop – Community Right to Challenge run by Matthew West of DCLG
This was a very practical workshop with plenty of interaction from the audience and some positive feedback. Matthew talked through the process for dealing with Expressions of Interest (EOI) and recommended that Local Authorities use their websites to define periods when they are open to receiving them. These regulations only came into force in late June so the number of “challenges” has not been quantified on a central basis. He confirmed that anyone can bid for services but it must address Social Value; this gives local groups the opportunity to run services how they want.
The CLG are able to award grants to assist organisations in bidding for locally run services.
We were then introduced to Geoff Walker from Sandwell Community Caring Trust who manages Adult Social Care Services for the Local Authority; this has been the situation since 1997. They have reduced the individual cost of care from £652 per person per week to £528 simply by making the workforce happier, resulting in fewer “sick days”; in true terms 85% of the sum charged goes on Patient Care.