Friday, February 23, 2018
A consultation giving Lancashire residents and partner organisations the opportunity to share their views on proposals to reduce the county council's advocacy service begins on Monday 26 February.
The eight-week consultation means people can have their say by filling in a questionnaire on the county council's website.
Because of the severe budget constraints the county council faces, cabinet proposed to reduce the budget for its low level advocacy service, which it does not have to provide by law, at its meeting in December 2017.
The statutory level advocacy service, which the county council has a legal duty to provide, will be unaffected by this proposal and continue as usual. The county council will also continue to commission a single point of contact for advocacy services.
Advocacy services support vulnerable people with the help of an 'advocate'. Advocates help people obtain and understand the information they need, attend meetings with them in a supportive role, or speak up for them in situations where they don’t feel able to speak for themselves.
County Councillor Graham Gooch, cabinet member for adult services, said: "This is a very tough decision.
"We have to reduce the budget given the difficult financial situation the county council is in.
"Our statutory service provides more intensive support to the most vulnerable people and we want to maintain the current level of service we provide. We will also continue to provide the Advocacy Hub as a single point of contact for people who need support.
"Our proposal is to reduce the non-statutory advocacy service which provides lower level support, by 50%."
The current non-statutory advocacy support is split into three levels:
Level 1 provides support to people who are able to self-advocate, but need help to access and understand specific information before feeling confident to move forward independently.
Level 2 provides a single session of face-to-face support with an experienced and trained advocate.
Level 3 provides a maximum of six face-to-face sessions.
The proposal would mean that Level 3 support would be discontinued. Face-to-face support would be removed from Level 2 and replaced with a single session of one-to-one contact, provided via telephone, email, or other digital channels. The current level 1 service would remain in place.
County Councillor Gooch added: "We've looked at how advocacy services are used and have put together a proposal that means we can save up to £74,000.
"The vast majority of people who use advocacy access the statutory service, and the level one support from the non-statutory service. Our proposal involves continuing to operate these parts of the service in the same way.
"However, we need to give the people who use the advocacy services and the organisations that support them, the chance to share their views.
"We will consider what they say before any decision about the non-statutory advocacy service is made."
From Monday, people will be able to share their views by visiting the consultation pages
Tagged as: Health and Social Care