Optimism for care contract

Wayne Fitzgerald
Wayne Fitzgerald

Improvements have been promised under a new adult social care contract after the current deal was labelled “not good enough” by Peterborough City Council’s deputy leader.

Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald, who is also the cabinet member for adult social care, said more city residents who receive a care package will soon have greater flexibility over their treatment.

This means they will be able to decide how they wish to spend the money they have been awarded to best support themselves (a system known as direct payments) rather than have the local council decide how to spend it for them.

For instance, a person in receipt of a care package could use it to pay for a personal assistant to do their shopping, or help with their washing, dressing and cooking, whereas, if the council organised the care from an approved provider it may not be as flexible a service as the individual may require on a daily basis.

Will Patten, the council’s director of commissioning, said direct payments saves the authority money, adding: “The evidence suggests when people have direct payments they can meet their needs far more effectively.

“It absolutely is a win-win.”

However, Peterborough currently lags well behind the regional average for individuals who receive direct payments, a situation which Cllr Fitzgerald said is “not good enough.”

But, he believes that under a new contract the council has signed with the Peterborough Council for Voluntary Service (PCVS) that will change. This is because the contract will focus the efforts of the PCVS into recruiting more personal assistants so eligible residents will be able to employ them using their direct payment.

Cllr Fitzgerald told members on the council’s Adults and Communities Scrutiny Committee that he had been reassured by officers that the new contract, which begins next month, would see more residents take up direct payments. But he added: “I’m keeping a very close eye on this particular subject.”