Herefordshire Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, is to consider proposals to purchase a new information and advice service. If approved the new service will provide broad, comprehensive signposting advice and information that covers all aspects of care and health information for adults across the county.
Changing legislation, increased demand for care and a need to balance a significantly reduced budget means the council has to review its current arrangements and work with local communities, the voluntary and private sector to do things differently.
At the moment, the council provides the Herefordshire Citizens Advice Bureaux with accommodation which costs the council £75,000 a year, together with a grant of £117,460. This grant comes to an end in March 2015 and the proposals to be considered by the cabinet member recommend this grant is not renewed. Instead it is proposed that the council commissions a new information, advice and signposting service that meets the requirements of the Care Act.
Helen Coombes, director for adults and wellbeing, said: “As health and social care reforms begin to take effect in 2015, information and advice services will need to be delivered in a different way to traditional advice services. We have to work with our colleagues in health to decide how we can deliver integrated information and advices services for families, individuals and carers at a local level.
“We have been talking to local providers about how we achieve this. The Herefordshire Citizens Advice Bureaux has been fully involved in these discussions and we hope the Bureaux will be one of the organisations that expresses an interest in providing this new service.
“We value the work of the Herefordshire Citizens Advice Bureaux, which is why we will continue to provide it with rent free accommodation as a contribution to our ongoing support.”
If the proposals are approved, the new service will go out to tender in the New Year with a view to the new contract beginning in April 2015.