Essex County Council announces Caring Communities Commission


Ambitious commission aims to address increased pressures on social care, looking at community-led solutions.

An ambitious commission which aims to address the increasing pressures on social care services has been announced by Essex County Council.

Councillor Beverley Egan will be the Chair of the newly created Caring Communities Commission. This will explore local and community-based solutions to social care pressures on public services.

The commission will launch in the summer of 2024 and focus on early intervention and prevention to avoid escalating needs and costs, and how residents could be supported in new ways to enjoy better health and access services in new ways. This will include:

identifying and amplifying assets within Essex communities to support vulnerable residents
building capacity within communities for improved resilience, better services and lower costs
looking at all forms of provision to better support the changing needs of residents
Councillor Egan leaves the Children’s Services and Early Years portfolio after three years. In that time, she has overseen an Outstanding Ofsted report for children’s social care services. Ofsted commended the council for its innovative approach to early intervention and continuous improvements across its services.

Councillor Kevin Bentley, Leader of the Council, said: “Ten years ago, we set up an innovative social care commission under the chairmanship of Sir Thomas Hughes-Hallet and vice chairmanship of Councillor John Spence. It asked the big question: ‘How will we care for our residents in the future?’ Its final report said there is no option but to take action, with more control over our care.

“Since then, the population of 70 to 74-year-olds has increased by 44%. There has also been a 40% increase in the number of children entering care and we continue to see the impact of Covid in communities. Data on demographics and demands show us that we need to build on the existing work that we’ve successfully implemented in Essex such as the rollout of caring technologies to support people to live independently, age well and live at home or with their families.

“I am therefore delighted to announce the formation of our Caring Communities Commission. Instead of looking at how to pay the ever-growing cost of social care, this commission will find radical, community-based solutions to meet care needs in a cost-effective way. It will be informed by the expertise and experiences of frontline staff, care users and their families.”

Councillor Egan said: “My career has been spent in the voluntary and public sector and most recently as the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Early Years. I am particularly keen to engage with the people who use our services and have lived experience as I have seen the power that our children in care have had in re-shaping our services. I will connect the work of the Commission to the ambitions that Essex County Council has for all our residents and to re-shape the care that we offer them, and I look forward to listening to a diverse range of views as we move forward.”

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