Enabling people to learn useful skills – Kent Pathways Service
Promising models of care – case studies
The Kent Pathways Service supports adults with learning disabilities to become more independent. It can help to improve independence by developing life skills so less help is needed. It helps to improve independence in an area of life. This could be making new friends, getting fit or active, or travelling independently.
People are supported for between one and 12 weeks, free of charge to the person, to learn or re-learn skills that will help them to become more independent and need less support.
The Kent Pathways Service helps with: preparing for work, cooking, housework, budgeting, shopping, keeping safe, keeping well, finding a college course, finding out what equipment can help and how to use it, and finding work.
Current users and outcomes
The Pathways Service is not used in Birmingham.The following data is based on its use in Kent. The scheme focuses on adults in Kent with a learning disability.
- As at January 2017, 559 people have been supported by the service across the county since it was introduced. There are currently 240 people using the service
- 7% of people with a learning disability accessing long-term support from the Council use the Kent Pathways Service
- The evaluation of a six month-long pilot in Dover & Thanet found that 97% of people who use services were living more independently at the end of the 12-week programme.
Estimated current financial benefits
In Kent, the scheme has led to less use of long-term support resulting in:
- £1,716 in net savings per person on the scheme per year
- £285,000 estimated savings to Kent County Council per year.
Potential benefits to Birmingham
If Birmingham introduced Care Pathways and it was taken up at the same rate (7% of people with learning disabilities who access long-term support), then 146 people would be supported.
The scheme was implemented by restructuring two Independent Living Service teams and three Kent Care Pathways teams (encompassing nurses, care managers, occupational therapists etc. who support people with learning disabilities), so there were no changes to staff grades or overall headcount. Therefore, the evaluation stated that there was no additional staffing costs to Kent County Council.
If a higher proportion of people were targeted, the estimated savings would be higher.
Assuming the same benefits could be achieved as in Kent, Birmingham could achieve approximately £250,000 in net savings per year.
Successful implementation of this scheme requires effective staff consultation and staff engagement. The scheme in Kent was done without incurring any additional staffing costs, through the restructuring of existing teams. If a new area to implement the scheme does not have the appropriate staff already in place (notwithstanding the need to restructure), then this could incur additional costs.
Implementation also requires the identification of the most appropriate beneficiaries of the scheme.