August Snap Shot at Somerset County Council

It has been a busy month at County Hall and I’m particularly delighted with the exceptional achievements within Adult Social Care. Here’s a quick overview of what has been happening.

Improvements to Delayed Transfer of Care: Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health has written to congratulate and thank Somerset County Council for the work that has been done to reduce delays in people leaving hospital – Delayed Transfers of Care to give it’s formal title. SCC’s improvement is the best in the country. In the words of the Minister, an “exceptional improvement and remarkable achievement”.

On this recognition, SCC are about to launch a new “Home First” policy which will work with partners to further speed up safe discharges from hospitals. This is a national priority and the “Better Care Fund” money (£11m) is dependent upon further improvements.

Adult Social Care Providers: The Care Quality Commission will report shortly that Somerset will have no care facilities rated as inadequate with over 87% being good or outstanding. This reflects month on month continuous improvement and will make Somerset close to being the national leader in this area. This has been achieved by the Council working very closely with suppliers of care, carefully monitoring their performance and helping where appropriate.

Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA): This year’s JSNA carried out by the County Council’s Public Health team looks in detail at the issue of ageing well and highlights the importance of maintaining good health, social contacts and personal independence. Somerset has an ageing population with one in five residents now being over the age of 65, but many will still experience poor health, as they get older. The report looks at what people can do to age well and how Somerset as a County can improve the life experiences of older people.

Healthy Weight: Public Health commission Zing Somerset to deliver support to those most in need of help to reduce and manage their weight. This includes people in the deprived communities, children and families. Alongside Zing there have been various small grants to grass roots organisations to deliver specific projects for people in need. The website, details a variety of options in more detail for Somerset residents.

Smoking in Pregnancy: The national figures on the stop smoking service provides an opportunity to compare performance locally with both the South West region and nationally for our Mums2Be Smokefree service. Of the 504 women in Somerset who set a quit date, 292 reported as quitting or 58% compared with 46% nationally and 48% for the South West.

Children’s Social Care: OFSTED recently visited SCC for their final preinspection monitoring visit. The focus this time was on the leaving care service and support for children with disabilities. Formal feedback is awaited but once again comments were favourable on the clear progress being made. The full OFSTED inspection is expected to take place in the autumn.

Mind Of My Own: Children in care and children’s services staff at SCC have been praised for leading the way in implementing technology to get young voices heard. Organisation MOMO (Mind Of My Own) was set up to help children and young people have a say in the care they receive. It offers a blend of technology, social work and children’s rights expertise to create apps that children can use on their own or with a worker or carer for communication and preparing for life after leaving care Work experience opportunities: It is really important that young people leaving care have the opportunity of work experience or an apprenticeship. If local companies or organisations are willing to assist please let HR at SCC know. Please try to make a difference!

Highways Finger Posts: Documentation which has been drafted following consultation with SW Heritage Trust to enable communities to maintain the finger posts themselves has now been published. SCC has also set up a mobile phone app to enable the volunteers to carry out esurveys on the fingerposts in their Parishes.

Travel Somerset: Somerset County Council’s traffic and travel service has proven a hit as it celebrates its first birthday. The mobile-friendly website, available at has been accessed by more than 100,000 in its first year and @TravelSomerset, tweets regular live alerts to its 2,824 followers.

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