Practice example – Hampshire County Council
Hampshire County Council is the third largest shire county in England with a population of 1,317,800 people (2011 Census) . The population is growing at a similar rate to the rest of the UK but ageing more rapidly.
Hampshire employs a transition team and each member has contacts with the schools in their local area. They attend open days and coffee mornings at the schools and so on. They link with what used to be youth support services and post-16 special educational needs services, building relationships with parent and carer groups, children in care, disabled children and children in need teams. The team offers an assessment and if a young person meets the criteria for adult services, they will identify appropriate services and secure funding. If the young person does not meet the criteria, they are signposted to appropriate services and advice. They can re-present at any time, if their needs change, through ‘Hantsdirect’ (the contact centre). With the advent of Education, Health and Care plans, an additional full-time post has been created in the transition team to specifically concentrate on young people who have been referred for a plan but have not been known to services before. This will be reviewed after six months to consider the increased workload versus capacity within the team.
The transition team builds links with the local physical disability and mental health teams. Following completion of the assessment process, the team will refer an individual directly to the appropriate service prior to their 18th birthday. In addition, team members consider anyone who will be turning 18 who has complex needs, where it is not obvious who should be the lead service. They then present a written profile of the young person to a complex case panel, which is made up of a variety of managers who have the authority to agree funding. A decision is then made about which team/service they will be allocated to when their transition to adult services begins.
Each transition team member facilitates meetings between local health colleagues, special educational needs services and schools/colleges. There is also a monthly joint planning group (JPG), which is led by special educational needs services. This is where young people who need to continue with or change their educational establishment post-18 (which could include a residential element) and whose programme of education will not finish until they are over 18, and will therefore involve adult services, are discussed. Service managers from adult services also attend these meetings so that a joint decision can be reached about the best way to meet an individual’s needs.
Hampshire County Council also has a contract with an independent provider to give supported employment (paid and unpaid) to anyone who meets the adult criteria (for the learning disability team), or anyone who is borderline in meeting the criteria and is on the autistic spectrum. A group made up of provider and council representatives meets monthly to consider all applications. In terms of prevention, the community independence team (CIT) will provide time-limited support (up to 12 weeks) for young people who do not meet the criteria. The expectation is that providing this short period of support will prevent them from requiring long-term services. Support could include travel training on buses and trains, introductions to generic groups within the community, approaching job centres and so on. Hampshire has a contract to provide telecare equipment, which might be needed by people supported by the community independence team as well as those who meet the criteria. In partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions, Hampshire is also convening a strategic employment group who will co-produce an employment pathway.
IT and information systems
Hampshire uses a different information system to record adult user information from that used to record children’s information. The transition team can access both sets of records and has access to basic primary health care records. All the transition social workers with the exception of one are co-located within the adult services/learning disability specialist health team. This helps to improve communication and information-sharing.