Welfare Reform – the view from the front line in Kingston

Welfare Reform – the view from the front line in Kingston

We recently held an event for members of the kiaa (Kingston Information and Advice Alliance) to discuss partnership working to support local people affected by Welfare Reform. Here is the 1608 kiaa event report summer ’16
The event was a great example of the Voluntary and Community Sector Strategy in action – this strategy seeks to move the voluntary sector from the margins to the mainstream of service provision locally, making the best use of scarce resources. Not only did the event give a chance for partners to share ideas and experiences from current working practices, but it also was a good opportunity to work together to see what needs to be done next. In summary we agreed:

  • We need a ‘single front door’ for health and social care referrals. At the moment GPs make referrals to a couple of agencies and we would like to build on that so that there is a quick and easy way for GPs to provide ‘social prescribing’ for people to support them to avoid crises and to help them when things have gone wrong.
  • We need to work together creatively to find ways to provide interpreting and translating services as without these some people find it very difficult to access services which could help them to stay well and independent
  • We pledged to work to keep diverse service provision locally- working to cut out gaps and overlaps and recognising that the most effective services are the ‘wrap around’ ones that focus on the individual and do not expect them to go to several different agencies for help in crisis
  • We agreed to continue to work to develop better links between agencies and to make sure that referral pathways are quick and easy to use- both between voluntary sector groups and between voluntary and statutory sector agencies
  • We hoped to develop the Welfare Reform Operational group concept which involves different departments at RBK working together to support people with complex needs
  • We also wanted to do more prevention work as we know that this is better than cure
  • Finally we agreed that lack of resources is an issue and we noted that we hope to be able to continue to work in partnership rather than in competition (which often results from the commissioning process). Partnership working makes the best use of scarce resources.