Report of the Head of Adult Care Operations and Health (ACOH/21/01) seeking approval for funding for new Advanced Practitioner roles in Adult Social Care, attached.
RESOLVEDthat the funding be approved for new Advanced Practitioner roles in Adult Social Care to support statutory work, reduce pressure at a time of increased demand and complexity and provide a career pathway for Social Workers and Occupational Therapists in Devon (see Option 3 as outlined in sections 4 and 6 of the Report).
(Councillors Biederman, Brazil, Dewhirst, Hannaford and Hodgson attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).
The Cabinet considered the Report of the Head of Adult Care Operations and Health (ACOH/21/01) seeking approval for funding for new Advanced Practitioner roles in Adult Social Care, the Report having been circulated prior to the meeting in accordance with regulation 7(4) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012.
The Cabinet noted that both Social Work and Occupational Therapy had capability frameworks that described the knowledge, skills and abilities expected at different points in the career pathway. However, Devon had not fully implemented either pathway at this point. The Council had a statutory duty to protect Adults at risk in Devon as well as cope with rising demand and levels of complexity of social care work and ensure an appropriate skill mix, therefore Adult Social Care had identified the need for skilled Advanced Practitioners. This would provide a vital level of practice expertise, leadership, and capacity to support with safeguarding and other statutory work.
The Report explained the work around the career pathway for Qualified Registered Social Workers and Qualified Registered Occupational Therapists. It provided the evidence of changes to demand, capacity, and nature of the work in Adult Social Care and outlined the options explored and proposed a recommended approach relating to the introduction of new Social Work and Occupational Therapy Advanced Practitioner Roles in Adults Services.
The Cabinet noted the importance of a career pathway as well as having a permanent and stable workforce. The Council had seen a rapid decline in the number of qualified Social Workers and Occupational Therapists applying for permanent posts. A first phase of a career pathway had been implemented, but this second phase was crucial to embedding the full pathway.
Section 2 of the Report outlined the changes in demand and nature of the work, including graph 1 which showed that Safeguarding concerns had increased by 33% in a year (1540 more concerns raised than the previous year) and graph 2 which demonstrated the increase in cases on waiting lists since April 2020.
A series of options had been considered and were outlined in section 4 of the Report, although the recommended approach was option 3 and the Report outlined the impact of the new roles and the recommended career progression pathway for Social Worker and Occupational Therapists. Option 3 included introducing 3 Advanced Practitioner Social Worker roles (into 3 teams) and 1 Advanced Practitioner Occupational Therapy role (covering the Eastern system) which required an investment of £56,206 in 2021/22 and ongoing investment of £224,824 from 2022/23. However, table 1 outlined the estimated cost(s) of each option explored.
In summary, the introduction of the Advanced Practitioner role into Adult Social Care would provide professional leadership and supervision/appraisal of staff, working in partnership with the manager, staff, and others, contributing to an effective and efficient service, support the Team Manager on day-to-day operational issues, provide ... view the full minutes text for item 55