This essay seeks to discuss the concept of personalization in the health and social care services in the united kingdom whereby highlighting various theories that define the aspect of risk assessment as well as determine the risk concept as it exists in personalization and the available risk assessment models and finalize the discussion by highlighting the national and local reports relevant to personalization in the united kingdom (Keohane, N., 2009).
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Risk refers to the potential danger that one is exposed to given the situation is operating in or the activities that he is performing. Risk can lead to loss of life or property depending on where the risk happened and what was involved. The issue of risk can also have the influence on the final result of a given process. Any human activity in one way or the other poses some kind of risk and if not well handled it can amount to maximum destruction. Risk in some other situations can be motivated by constant exposure to activities that are dangerous to one’s life.
This first part of the essay aims at discussing the process of risk assessment, the conceptual frameworks, theoretical models and practice tools which inform the processes of risk assessment with regard to personalization and the associated risks
The process of doing risk assessment is aimed at determining various risks in personalization in the health and social care services. Assessment on risk has to be accompanied by intervention since the process of doing risk assessment is to determine the risk and the course of action required. Risk assessment in the health and social care sector need to be a continuous process in order to guide the decision making process for the services providers. Assessment is also important in helping the service providers to come up with strategies that should be applied when dealing with risks (English Community Care Association, 2010). Use of risk assessment in the health and social care services, needs proper planning based on the previous reports in order to establish what is already known about the social services from the past experience and research information (DWP, 2006).
Personalization is the process of availing public sources for the users. It’s informed as a philosophy and a policy on reform on the various ways public services should be presented to those who require them. It requires very deep thoughts about the services that need to be rendered to the public. One has to think first about the user before thinking about the service, this is so because it assists in determining the kind of service the person requires and then present the same to him to meet his/her needs.
Personalization normally takes different forms depending on the service that need to be offered to the public. But in most cases it’s done in such a manner that it provides many choices to the users through different service providers. This approach has been developed in the service care whereby various budgets are being prepared and funded alongside the universal services that need to be accessed by everybody (Gregg, P., 2008). This policy has become the fastest rationale in reforming various sectors such as the health sector which is one of the most important sectors that deal directly with the people in terms of providing them with healthcare services. The approach of providing the services to the public is something that has received support from many governments, agencies and individuals as indicated in the report on personalization of 2010 during the general election.
Personalization process is a public engagement by an individual whereby the social care providers are associated and involved. Since personalization is an agenda that which one needs to take part in, it has some risks to the care providers which include; lack of privacy to personal life and information. The carers’ in most cases are exposed to the risk of having their personal lives known to the public. They also risk by having to sacrifice much of their time and other commitments for the public activities as well as incurring personal costs in order to provide for the need (DWP, 2008).
One of the risks associated with personalization, is the demand to ascertain the advancement the public services providers have attained. The phase of implementation has been a real challenge because of the difficultness to identify what exactly should be done in personalization. Based on the previous discussion, personalization is all about social care and it has been developed in such way that it takes into consideration four main factors namely; the ability to choose and manage the services, social capital as well as prevention and ensuring access to those services that are of the national importance with a strong concern about making users self direct on public services (ESRC/ACEVO, 2009). In some cases, personalization has been established in such away in that it’s now a broad agenda of ensuring that services are tailored to the users by employing the state-led users’ approaches. This part of the discussion will take a look at various reforms that have been incorporated to ensure that services are driven to the individuals. We will give consideration to adult social care, health, employment services and housing.
Personalization has a long history in adult social care that was initiated by the independent movements in the 1970s that has led to total society care reforms in the 1990s. It campaigned for the need to have people who are physically able to get direct payment, which later show the inclusion of the elderly, disabled children, mental cases as well as those people who have problems in learning. In response to this, the social enterprise in control together with the local authorities developed a budget for direct payments to individuals through an integration of various sources for more creative use (DWP, 2008). The evaluation on this initiative that was done in 2005 revealed that many people appreciated the plan as it empowered them to have a say on their lives
Another agenda for personalization has been to provide good housing. It’s intended at addressing people’s housing needs in a number of ways to make sure that accommodation is among the care agendas. Decent accommodation is one way of providing social care. Being one of the government’s ‘think family initiative’ housing of families at risk was oriented and became one of the elements that were considered when preparing the budget. Local authorities also provided funds to support people in acquiring decent accommodation for those people who are vulnerable to risk (DWP, 2008).
Personal health budgets are currently piloted to various services within the health sector which included mental health, maternity care and drug abuse care. The cost of managing the services individually is not an easy thing for many people and therefore the legislation has been put in place to give direct payments to the health sector. There has also been the tailoring of health support to individuals with chronic diseases like diabetes and HIV/AIDS through the involvement of experts who provide personal care to these patients (Duffy, 2008)
Therefore, personalization being an important process that is intended to deliver services to the users, there is need to involve different parties such as the multi-agencies, individuals, different groups and institutions to assess the whole process to establish the associated risks. During personalization more focus is put on adults in most cases and it is believed that emphasis is not put in to recognize children as special people who are at risk and need special attention. The internal control for children has embarked on a journey to establish the need to have personal budgets and a wide range of activities for the children, young persons and their respective families through the taking control programme of 2010. In the year 2007, the department of education by then, announced various pilots that should be applied to provide individual budgets for the children who are disabled and their families through the act of aiming high programme. In Yorkshire and Humber, the work of providing children with care has been supported by improving the experiences of the children at that point when they are becoming adults. The special schools were also included through the person centered planning. Those children who may have additional needs such as physical or learning problems were found to be at risk of neglect or abuse and through the (BHLP) model, the budgets were piloted to aid their needs. This model has so far seen children being introduced into a culture of, ‘I can do’ starting from the bottom up (HM Government, 2007).
In the area of providing employment, the jobcentre plus initiative launched in 2002, has since then incorporated personal advisers for those that are seeking jobs. However, through the assessment report, it was found that the caseload was so big and can not be handled to deliver personalized support for individuals and therefore more career training was essential for the advisers to make them more effective according to McNeil report of 2009, on career progression and development. This led to provision of block contracts in order to cover the jobseekers who have different needs (HM Government, 2007). The Gregg report of 2008 came up with the idea of personalized conditionality for the people that are not working by combining the whole idea of personalization with the concept of conditionality to those behaviors that are insensitive to change. The flexible new deal was established by the department of work and pensions in 2008, to help in creating a more personalized service provision for the people that are out of work. The public sector came into agreement to assist in placing people to work through a public funding that will be provide depending on the number of people who have been placed to work(ESRC/ACEVO, 2009).
In education sector, personalized learning was put into the agenda in 2004 by David Miliband by then the minister for school standards. He described it as ‘an high expectation of every child, given practical form by high -quality teaching based on a sound knowledge and understanding of each child’s needs’ that is according to the report produced by Miliband in 2004. The Children’s Plan published by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) in 2007, stated that there is need to make learning the norm for every year to ensure that every child is given proper education and no one should be left behind. The government announced a 1.2 billion sterling pound for three years plan to support personalization for educational needs (English Community Care Association, 2010).
Risk assessment is a technique that is used in social work to assist in setting the ground for making informed decisions since it provides all material facts about the users of the services and different people who are ignored within the community and who require immediate attention.
Frequent assessment framework on risk is provided for use in order to give all the participants the opportunity to regularly conduct risk assessments in order to determine the various needs for the users that need to be supplied. This will enable individuals directly deal with evolving needs with regard to health and social care (Hurst, G., 2009).
Given the need to reveal the likely risks, a given systematic procedure with specific frameworks, models and practices have to be employed to ensure that the process of assessing the risk is a success. This essay has sort to go through various tools and practices that need to be considered when looking the risks that are likely to occur and they include the following; Time is of essence during then process since it’s required to enable the assessors to go through all possible areas that may be a course of any eventuality. It’s important that all the involved parties are given humble time to accomplish their assessments to come up with a good report. Time is required to collect all historical facts and the same time to compare all information to help generate concrete conclusions.
What the assessor should not do at all, is just to collect materials and put them down on record because this avoid the views of the users and other social carers. All concerned people need to be honest to each other at each step as this will create moment consultation and discussions doing the assessment (Hurst, 2009). Those parties that are deemed vulnerable should always be given a hearing to avoid any conflict. Every party should feel honored and respected during the exercise. What must not be done in this case is to avoid recoding any information especially the disagreed areas because this might be the situations that are prone to risk.
It’s important for the assessors to understand what exactly the service user desire to know. In this case what should be avoided is to assume things especially the way one is supposed to address the other colleagues (ESRC/ACEVO, 2009). Every material needs to be made available to the users. It’s supposed to be easy to be retrieved and acceptable by the professionals. At the same time they also need to consider the importance of sharing materials and facts at any given time. It’s absolutely very necessary to keep consultations a life for both the assessors and the users. What needs to be avoided here is being selfish in consultations with the advocates especially when they believe that the time of assessment is likely to be a little bit longer and want to rush to avoid criticism and concerns about the assessment report (GSCC, 2008).
This part will critically analyze awareness of individual, group and institutional decision-making processes and the implications for multi-disciplinary systems and processes.
Individuals, different groups, and decision making processes need to apply risk assessment reports to make their decisions with regard to the needs that are there. Once a need has been identified, it is important for various service providers such as commissioners, users and service providers to work together as a team in order to come up with a strategy that can be used to meet the needs of the users. The process of containing risk is called management of risk and it’s aimed at reducing any associated dangers that may result from that risk. In most cases the risk that has been there for the services providers is the one associated with lack of information and financial resources to determine and manage their affairs (Duffy and Fulton, 2009).
Various agencies and other third party services providers need to come up with various ways to manage new and emerging risks at work especially when dealing with the local authorities in order to be in a position to minimize the danger of failing to meet the users’ needs. There is need for collaboration between the local authorities and other agencies to avoid the risk of meeting the market demands. Its appropriate in some cases to have contingency funding in place to fund for activities incase there could be a likelihood of the market failure. On the other hand, commissioning organizations need to elaborate the extent to which they can handle the legal liabilities especially if there are legal disputes that may arise in the process of delivering services.
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Commissioning of personalization is the process of redefining new approaches to be applied in providing services to the users (GSCC, 2008). The approach was developed as a result of the need to reach many people and avail a number of services for the customer choices. The approaches are expected to be convenient and faster in services delivery apart from being cost effective. In the processing of commissioning, however, so many challenges have come into being as result of personalized approach to service delivery. Commissioning of services does not mean that only people whose job title is written commissioning will be doing the job but the service users also need to be involved in the process of providing services to the number of the services providers who can be used at any given time to assist in service delivery (DWP, 2008).
Good commissioning is important in attaining the vision described out in Putting People First. It needs a transformation within the commissioning agenda in regard to the investments commissioners have, the different markets they wish to work to shape and the kind of relationships they wish to need to build in order to meet people’s needs (Gregg, 2008).
Commissioning in the transformed social care is somehow different but no much important task. As councils differ to increasing proportions for their investments meant to make individuals to come up with their own service decisions, commissioners have to find ways to use to work in partnership with service providers to make sure a wide range of selections are made available and that the right kind of support for budget bearers and self-financiers. This will definitely mean that there is a need to come up with more innovative services that better relate to persons selection decisions (Duffy, 2008).
In actual sense personalization is the mechanism developed to tailor services to the users in a more convenient way. The process ensures that all essential services are channeled to the right people at the right time. The activities surrounding the delivery services include a number of key players who take part in the exercise. These services are delivered to meet the needs of individuals. The key players of service delivery are; the social care workforce, third party organizations, the private sector organizations, user-led organizations, commissioning and the policy regulation (DWP, 2008).
Social care workforce as an agency is used when there is total need for change at levels on the various strategies that are used to offer the services to the people and their duties include the following; to provide personalized social care and supportive services incase of any need. They are key players used by the government in performing its central role of service delivery to the users. These people are supposed to add value to the lives of people through their distinct contributions especially for those services that relate to bettering life and empowering the people to be independent for all those who use these services including; families, carers and communities. The social workforce is intended in supporting independence, choice as well as control over difficulties that different individuals face such as disabilities, age and mental health related problems (HM Government, 2007).
Advocacy workers groups are established to fight for the needs of people and protecting their rights. They support the people in making sure that services for consumption are always available for the users and at the same time ensure that they are safe and life promoting services (Gregg, 2008). Personalization for advocacy workers means working together with people who are the users of the services to ensure that services provided are genuine. They also assist in monitoring the systems that are used to deliver the services.
They are also meant to enhance the advocacy levels to make sure that care for people is well funded and does not fall below the required budgets that are used to support services to the public (Hurst, 2009). They also advocate for changes to the types of services that people require and the budgets being spent for the purpose of accountability in the sector of social care.
They also assist to negotiate for people to get more support than the usual conventional one. This is aimed at providing more personalized services that support individuals to enhance their capabilities in terms of contribution to the community, improve their lives as well as the community life (ESRC/ACEVO, 2009).
Home care service providers in most cases in many occasions assist to offer services that confine with personal needs thus creating the need to have more support from people who use them. These are called the home care service providers and their main agenda is to make sure that services are put closer to the users. These are organizations that are started and within the community to perform various duties in relation to services provided. There duties include developing systems and trainings to assist the staff enhance their knowledge as well as creativeness and innovation in person centered approaches (DWP, 2006). They think on how to add on the expansion of assistance offered to individual workforce so as to increase more specialized services to the diverse markets. It’s also important for the home care services providers to find the best to provide their services whether directly through the councils or personal budget bearer.
This part seeks to evaluate the local authorities’ reports on personalization
The 2009 report by the Association of Adult Social Services (ADASS) and the Local Government Association (LGA) which carried out a survey on the process of putting people’s needs first when delivering services indicated that a number of recommendations were put forward to assist in delivering well transformed needs which conform with the needs of the users. In the report, the following recommendations were arrived in order to transform service delivery to the people; the transformation of the social care proved very necessary since it was discovered that there was conflict of interest among different service providers since among them, there were those interested in the same services. This has proved difficulty in promoting transparency and accountability within the sector thus requiring total transformation for efficient management of the public services (Hurst, G., 2009)
There is need to streamline the process of transferring funds to those who are eligible so that to have personal. There is need for all partners to come up with systems that are cost effective as an intervention to reduce the high demand for services and lastly ensure that people who receive and use these services are well informed of the available options within the community to meet their needs (GSCC, 2008).
The report on personalization produced by the centre for Public Service Partnerships (CPSP) indicates that personalization is an important factor in providing services to the public. This reform since then has raised many important questions that need urgent debate on the way forward about personalization using personal budgets. Personalization of public services is meant to last even if it means using individual budgets to empower the users purchase the services.
Personalization policy must be supported and maintained. The report went further to state the need to improve on personalization in order to extend service delivery to the public. Many of the public services like social care, handling of long-term diseases among the citizens, child care, developmental training, higher education and support for those people who are not working either because they are retired or aged require a model of personalization will assist in channeling public finances down to the people in order to allow them make their own informed choices on what to purchase and from where (Duffy, 2010). However, this strategy is accompanied with challenges that need to be taken care of. Firstly, it will require that the relationship between the individuals and the state be streamlined in order to determine what services should be channeled and by which provider. This is likely to abolish monopoly in the public sector services enjoyed by third party businesses and other sectors previously enjoyed the government protection. The whole process of personalization will mean fair competition and dealing within the public services production sector. However, this requires proper regulation to control the quality of services and the costs of obtaining those services (HM Government, 2007).
The services suppliers have to change their way of operation to fit in the competition that involve many suppliers in the pubic service delivery sector. There is need for service providers to develop models that are more personalized thus meeting the specific requirements of the users. The demand for public services will shift from the commissioners to the providers thus creating more demand for services which in some cases will not be easy to manage without enough cash flows. This will require more funding to facilitate (GSCC, 2008).
The regulations used should be citizen based to allow for proportionate handling of risk. This is to protect the user from exposed to higher risk than the service provider. No single service provider will enter the sector to reap from the public but must put the interest of the users first. The main function of commissioners in this case is to recognize the needs and various aspirations in relation with the users and other professional bodies that deliver services. They also expected to assess the needs where there is no uniformity in service delivery and allocation of financial resources to the users. They will also be expected to monitor the quality of services and their standards against the legislative requirements. This regulation is very necessary since it protects the users from accessing substandard services (Duffy and Fulton, 2009).
Under this strategy, the citizens must be supported to make their own well informed choices from a variety of sources. This model raises a fundamental question on the kind of relationship that is there between the professional adviser and the users that will motivate the discharge of very important information concerning various services as well as information about power and authority between them. A lot of counseling is required for the users to follow the professional advice and access to advocacy (DWP, 2006). However, personalization means that the service users are able to make informed choices. This is necessary to avoid conflicts between the users and the service providers. Personalized services are expenditures incurred on the public budget and must therefore be well managed to benefit the final users. While spending the public budget, there is need to take into considerations various factors such as purists and pragmatists, dogmatic and idealistic so as to provide well balanced services for all users regardless of whom they are.
Personalization in the social care context, require proper knowledge about the divergent needs the users have, their rights and the possible risks that may face the process. Risk assessment and care provision services are supposed to offer more meaningful and legal direction which the various participants will require in order to provide satisfactorily services to the public (DWP, 2006). The personalization process must be designed in such away in order to offer quality services that are more responsive and cost effective so to enable the carers’ avoid any kind of unnecessary challenges in the execution of social care services to the community. There is need also to start smaller units that offer community care within the society so as to assist in protecting the abused within a given public setting (Gregg, 2008). People who have learning problems need to be provided with special care homes within the community where they can be supported and provided for. The social care workers are expected to practice professionalism while carrying out social duties in order to add value to the services provided.
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