Supported care in the community top focus for Nottinghamshire County Council’s new adult social care chief

Getting people out of hospitals and into supported care within their own homes is among the top priorities for Nottinghamshire Council’s new social care chairman.

By Andrew Topping
Friday, 13th May 2022, 4:07 pm

Coun Matt Barney has taken up the role as the authority’s new adult social care and public health portfolio holder, following a shake-up in the Conservative-led council’s governance.

Coun Barney will now sit on the newly-formed cabinet at County Hall, after the council approved a return to cabinet governance this month.

He takes over from previous committee chairman Coun Boyd Elliott and will be supported by deputy cabinet member Coun Scott Carlton, member for Sherwood Forest.

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Coun Matt Barney, Nottinghamshire Council adult social care and public health portfolio holder.

Coun Barney said improving home care will be one of his top ambitions.

Extra staffing was approved last year to help get people out of hospital and into care, with backlogs in hospital discharges causing a strain on the NHS and social care.

Last month, the authority increased its adult social care council tax precept by the maximum amount, 3 per cent, with NHS backlogs identified for some of the extra cash from Nottinghamshire taxpayers.

Coun Barney says his main priority will be to speed up this process, but confirmed he wants to provide ‘person-centred’ care in an environment where people are ‘supported and loved’ by their communities.

“We’re very much about supporting people where they are,” he said.

“This is at their own home, in their communities and with their loved ones around them.

“Peoples’ needs are best served in the environment they know, where they have people around them to support them and I will continue this focus where we can.”

“Obviously there is always going to be the need for support in hospitals and specialist support will be needed, but where possible, we would like to provide all the support to people where they are.”

Coun Paul Henshaw, Labour spokesman for adult social care and care worker, urged Coun Barney to commit to paying all care workers a minimum of £10.50 an hour.

And Coun Henshaw, member for Mansfield West, also believes the Conservative leadership should be challenging the Government over its funding for social care.

He said: “The hike to National Insurance was badged up as a Health and Social Care levy, but in actual fact that money is going first to the NHS and care services don’t know when or how much money they’ll eventually get – if any.

“Meanwhile, Nottinghamshire care homes continue to struggle to pay their overheads and bills due to the cost-of-living crisis.”

“This means money for care home residents isn’t going entirely on their services or care, and a lot of care workers in Nottinghamshire themselves are on minimum wage zero-hours contracts, which explains the significant amount of care worker vacancies across the county.”

But Coun Barney says the authority recognises the pressures of the cost-of-living crisis, with staff already tasked with assessing how rising inflation will impact the sector.

His remit also covers public health and he said another focus of his will be to address issues with homelessness.

Coun Barney, who worked with homelessness charities in his late teens, said: “Homelessness affects all areas of a person’s life and any improvement we can make to support with this is a joy to me.”