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Surrey Care Association (SCA)

by Bex Pritchard, CEO SPA

SCA was established 15 years ago. We currently have over 220 member organisations, ranging from large nationals to small, newly established home care providers. Our members employ and provide care  and support for thousands of people across Surrey.

SCA’s role is to support our members so that they in turn can deliver the best possible services for the people they support and care for. We do this by:

  • Bringing providers together to share their insights, experiences and views so that we can represent them and influence locally and nationally.
  • Adding value to the huge amount of information and guidance available for providers by prioritizing & highlighting, summarizing and identifying actions needed.
  • Providing access to commercial partners who can offer competitive prices and add value by sharing their expertise with members.
  • Offering a dedicated Workforce Manager to support members’ recruitment practice and ensure members’ needs shape free training offered by statutory partners.

We believe our values shape our priorities and the way in which we operate:

  • Dignity – we believe in the power of social care and support to enable people to achieve the best possible quality of life and will treat each other with dignity and respect.
  • Collaboration – we believe in the power of working together, to support one another and share ideas and insights to develop and deliver high quality and sustainable services.
  • Confidence through integrity and evidence – we will act with confidence ensuring our influencing and representation work is informed by evidence, the insights and knowledge of our members.  
  • Courage – as an independent organisation, we are willing to challenge the status quo and “speak truth to power” in the best interests of our members and the people of Surrey who need and use care and support services.

As a membership organisation, SCA represents a community of providers who are all committed to delivering high quality care and support services that enable people who need care and support in Surrey to live their best lives possible.

The majority of SCA members are from the adult social care sector and support older people, people with learning disabilities and autistic people, people with mental health needs and people with physical disabilities and sensory impairments. We have recently reached out to providers of supported housing and services for people experiencing homelessness and complex trauma to include them in the SCA “family”.

We operate across the whole of Surrey, which includes the key statutory stakeholders of Surrey County Council, Surrey Heartlands and Frimley CCGs – which will become the Integrated Care Systems from April 2022, four place-based alliances within Surrey Heartlands and 11 District and Borough Councils.

Our role is to ensure the insights, experiences and needs of our members (and the people they care for and support) are understood, valued and acted upon by key decision makers and practitioners across Surrey. And in turn to ensure our members have access to the latest information about opportunities in their areas.

That involves a lot of meetings and information sharing – and we could not do that without our Board members who give up their time voluntarily to support the running of SCA, chairing our networks and attending meetings with senior officers and elected members.

Some of SCA’s highlights and achievements in the last year include:

Reinventing Social Care which was launched by SCA’s Board in November 2020. Reinventing Social Care sets out a vision for the future design and delivery of social care. Since then, a delivery team involving providers across England has been established and is working on an exciting influencing program to ensure the unique insights and expertise of providers are recognised and influences policy and DHSC practice. Find our more and get involved at www.reinventingsocialcare.co.uk  

Virtual Celebrations of Social Care  for members to celebrate the work of care providers and the difference SCA members make to the lives of the people they care for and support. They feature dedicated messages of support from some amazing celebrities – but even more importantly it’s an opportunity to share, value and recognise the work we all do.

Weekly bulletins help keep people informed throughout periods of change and uncertainty. In our Members’ Summer Survey, 72 per cent of respondents said the weekly bulletin was useful to them and their organisation, although some did say they got too much information. As a result, we now provide more of an editorial to summarize, highlight key issues and draw members’ attention to some of the most important information and opportunities.

We offer virtual networks for our members, both by service model, client group and “place”, have arranged workshops and held conferences to provide opportunities for sharing information, accessing updates and training/ briefings from a wide range of individuals – local commissioners, health colleagues, CQC and commercial supporters who share their expertise with members. We also have regular sector engagement meetings with the Director of Adult Social Services and Lead Member for Adult Social Care to represent members’ needs.

Some of our achievements and impacts for members in the last six months have included:

  • Helping individual members un-block invoices that were stuck in the system, releasing thousands of pounds for them and improving communication with and access to the Continuing Health Care team for members
  • Guiding members through preparing for VCOD so members were confident they would be able to comply
  • Securing a commitment from the council to passport Workforce Capacity funding directly to providers
  • Supporting members to navigate a new tendering framework and acting as a sounding board for businesses who had been asked to consider reducing their fees to meet guideline prices – quite a few decided on balance not to do this!
  • Running a Workforce Pressures survey in October 2020 to inform our campaign for the council to levy the maximum adult social care precept from April 2022 (this is a work in progress!)
  • Raising concerns when the local ambulance service said they couldn’t guarantee crews attending care homes would be vaccinated – they’ve now confirmed they will only deploy fully vaccinated crews to care homes.
  • Setting up peer-support group for Registered Managers and securing a commitment from ICP colleagues to invite nursing staff in care homes to their clinical professional development and reflective practice events.

SCA – and all care associations – will advocate, represent, influence and do our best to respond to members’ needs for services and support. But in turn we need care and support providers to share their insights and experiences (come to our network meetings and even fill in the occasional survey) as we derive our credibility and authority from our membership!  Ultimately, we’re stronger together!

For more information: Surrey Care Association: Advice and Support for Care Providers and Care Seekers

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