Dear Commissioner / Service Provider
Whatever is Happening to Prevention Services?
We are writing to you all as members of Sutton 1 in 4 Network and the Sutton Circle of Support. (www.sutton1in4.org.uk)
We recently held an open forum where the local authority gave a presentation regarding the implementation of the Care Act. We understand that the implementation of the Act in Sutton creates a range of challenges.
We are deeply concerned that services and initiatives that are currently funded via the prevention prospectus are in danger of being cut or having their funding reduced or withdrawn. It seems to us that these are the very services that should be invested in with the aim of reducing the need for individuals having to get access to statutory services.
Many of us have experienced enduring mental health difficulties, which are cyclic in nature, and many of us also have long-term health conditions.
We very often have to face loneliness and isolation and a sense of social exclusion and discrimination. The services that we currently use, such as Sutton Circle of Support and Sutton Mental Health Foundation, are important to us as they provide a safe haven and are here whenever we need them, without us having to be assessed and re-assessed constantly. They enable us to build user-led support networks and activities in line with the five steps to wellbeing. They place us at the centre of their decision-making about the activities they provide, by working with us in a co-productive manner.
It is our understanding that one of the reasons why the current prevention prospectus is coming to an end was that the outcomes were not seen to be as robust as envisaged. This is in part due to the fact that the local authority did not have in place a clear evaluation tool and providers were asked to develop their own in-house mechanisms. Of course we recognise that there needs to be some clear evidence of the value of preventative services locally and we are very willing to discuss with you developing such a mechanism to collect the evidence based on our experiences.
We would urge you to consider ensuring that prevention services and initiatives are given just as much priority as other developments. If the future of such provision cannot be guaranteed then we shall all be asking for assessments under the Care Act and will encourage our carers to do the same.
We are willing to meet or arrange a public event to discuss these matters further.