The Department of Health has made a power to delegate statutory functions available to all English local authorities following the end of a national pilot programme.
The adult social care social work practice (SWP) pilots were launched in 2011 to test delegation of certain functions and to establish whether these incentivise innovative ways of working, reduce bureaucracy, increase staff satisfaction, and improve user satisfaction as social workers and the people they work with are brought closer together. The evaluation programme found positive evidence of delegation working well, and evidence of reducing bureaucracy and increasing job satisfaction and empowerment through the SWP sites.
The Contracting Out (Local Authorities Social Services Functions) (England) Order 2014 allows all local authorities to legally delegate certain statutory functions in anticipation of the Care Act providing this universal power from April 2015. Local authorities now have the opportunity to delegate social services functions, and to make plans to delegate care and support functions from April 2015 if they wish to use the flexibility that this power provides. This is consistent with the power that local authorities will have when the Care Act comes into force in April 2015. The full 0rder can be accessed here.
The draft guidance on the Care Act power of delegation can be accessed here. Please do share your views on this, and the wider draft guidance and regulations, before closure of the consultation on 15 August.
The final evaluation report on the adult SWPs can be accessed via the King’s College Social Care Workforce Research Unit website.