Skip to content

Council services supporting adult social care

Who is this resource for?

This resource will offer guidance for council / wider local authority services that support adult social care to understand what a strengths based approach is, what it means to their role and how to ensure their practice is strengths-based.

A council service supporting Adult Social Care (ASC) refers to employees in the department/wider local authority who work in non-social work/occupational therapy roles but do perform tasks that support or enable social work/occupational therapy interventions and therefore the provision of care and support to people that access the services.

This resource specifically addresses what does strengths-based practice mean for the following council services supporting ASC:

Why is this important for me when working in a council services supporting adult social care role?

Every intervention undertaken by a local authority member of staff in relation to the provision of care and support is regulated by the Care Act 2014. Regardless of whether these interventions are front line or back office, and whether they have direct contact with individuals in the community or not.

The Care Act statutory guidance is very clear that the Act places an expectation that every local authority works in a person-centred and strengths-based way to fulfil, amongst others, their legal duty of promoting individual wellbeing.

When employed by a local authority it is expected that a core set of values underpins our work, and at the heart of each of these values is the person accessing support from the services that a local authority provides.

These value statements and SCIE’s definition reflect the overarching principles for National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines derived from people’s experiences in ASC services:

1.1.1 Recognise that each person who uses services is an individual. Use each person’s self-defined strengths, preferences, aspirations and needs as the basis on which to provide care and support to live an independent life.

1.1.2 Support people to maintain their independence. This means finding out what people want from their life and providing the support and assistance they need to do this’.

The contribution of council services supporting ASC to people’s experiences

The Care Act and strengths-based practice means that all interventions become holistic, person-centred and outcomes focused, and will result in better outcomes and lives for individuals.

Recent evidence, along with our experience of supporting dozens of councils, shows that strengths-based ways of working are only successful when you adopt a whole-place or whole-system approach, involving not just adult social care, but also the NHS, housing, community organisations and local people.

The following graphic illustrates how the ASC enabling roles help to support a person that accesses support.

Download diagram as PDF

Despite an increased focus on strengths-based practice, if services are commissioned, performance-managed and inspected in a way that is risk averse, looks for quick fixes, and values outputs over outcomes, it will limit workers’ potential to employ strengths-based approaches.

At the end of the day the core duty of the Care Act, the legislation which underpins all functions within a Local Authority, is to promote individual wellbeing, which is broader than ‘meeting eligible needs’.

Strengths-based approach for council services supporting adult social care