Essex County Council announces Caring Communities Commission

The local authority have created the group in a bid to address the ever-growing pressures pilling up on their social care services.

Due to launch this summer, Essex County Council have revealed that councillor Beverley Egan will chair the new commission and work with the community to discover how the county’s social care services can be improved.

grayscale photo of woman in sweater smiling

Arguably, there is no one better suited to the job than Cllr Egan as during her time as the lead of Children’s Services and Early Years portfolio, she managed to oversee an Outstanding Ofsted report for the local authorities children’s social care services.

One of the council’s main focuses is improving early intervention and prevention in social care and this has become a huge part of the commission.

It will include:

  • Identifying assets within Essex communities to support vulnerable residents
  • Building capacity within communities for improved resilience, better services and lower costs
  • Examining all forms of provision to better support the changing needs of locals

Commenting on the launch of the new initiative, Cllr Kevin Bentley, leader of the council, said: ‘Ten years ago, we set up an innovative social care commission under the chairmanship of Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallet and vice chairmanship of Councillor John Spence. It asked the big question: ‘How will we care for our residents in the future?’ Its final report said there is no option but to take action, with more control over our care. 

‘Since then, the population of 70 to 74-year-olds has increased by 44%. There has also been a 40% increase in the number of children entering care and we continue to see the impact of Covid in communities.’

In addition, Cllr Bentley added that due to their increasing older population, more work needs to be done to help residents receive the care they deserve.

‘Data on demographics and demands show us that we need to build on the existing work that we’ve successfully implemented in Essex such as the rollout of caring technologies to support people to live independently, age well and live at home or with their families,’ Cllr Bentley said. ‘I am therefore delighted to announce the formation of our Caring Communities Commission. Instead of looking at how to pay the ever-growing cost of social care, this commission will find radical, community-based solutions to meet care needs in a cost-effective way.’

Moreover, Cllr Egan has expressed her enthusiasm for being given the opportunity to head the new programme.

‘My career has been spent in the voluntary and public sector and most recently as the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Early Years. I am particularly keen to engage with the people who use our services and have lived experience as I have seen the power that our children in care have had in re-shaping our services,’ Cllr Egan said. ‘I will connect the work of the Commission to the ambitions that Essex County Council has for all our residents and to re-shape the care that we offer them, and I look forward to listening to a diverse range of views as we move forward.’

Image: Artyom Kabajev

More on this topic:

Safety valve funding protects SEND in four more councils

Richmond Council named as the best for supporting adults in social care


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