Healthwatch Cornwall’s latest report shows nearly nine out of ten people want to take part in future Adult Social Care consultations.
Earlier this year Cornwall Council proposed changes to its Adult Social Care charging policy, which was met with strong criticism from those using potentially affected services who felt they had not been given enough time to respond, nor the appropriate means to do so. Healthwatch Cornwall’s report “No changes about me without me” is based on over 320 responses to its Adult Social Care survey and over 50 meetings with Cornwall Council staff, the public and stakeholders.
Healthwatch Cornwall’s Chief Executive Amanda Stratford said “We agreed with Cornwall Council to conduct an independent assessment of how the Adult Social Care directorate conducts its public engagement and consultation so that it could learn lessons and improve in the future.”
Healthwatch Cornwall’s report finds many people are unaware of consultations or, in some cases, heard too late to respond. This included carers, people in residential care, those who receive care or support to live independently and people with a learning disability. Methods currently used to communicate with the public and service users about policy change, meant that information was not always reaching the right people at the right time.
There was a clear desire by the public to be engaged with and consulted on Adult Social Care policy change with nearly nine out of ten people wanting to take part in future consultations.
Helen Charlesworth May, Director of Adult Social Care at Cornwall Council said “Healthwatch Cornwall’s review has highlighted that while we are doing some consultations well, we are not consistently getting it right – and when we get it wrong this leaves people feeling frustrated and not heard.
For this to happen we have to make sure that we talk to people early when considering changes and their views shape those changes. We have already started to take practical steps to address the recommendations from the report”
Recommendations for the council include adopting a co-productive approach to public consultation. Healthwatch Cornwall also say that the council should ensure it embeds a co-productive approach to policy consultation that builds on the will of staff and the public to work together to put people’s views at the heart of change.
A full report of the findings was presented to the council’s Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 17 October, and is available on Healthwatch Cornwall’s website.
Cllr Rotchell, Portfolio Holder for Adults confirmed Healthwatch Cornwall’s report will be instrumental in helping it identify opportunities for improvement
Copy from Healthwatch Cornwall