Oxfordshire County Council, like many other councils across the UK, was facing the challenge of operating within reduced budgets, and in early 2016 committed to a review of daytime support for people aged over 18, to save £1 million. They faced the particularly sensitive issue of identifying and implementing a new model for daytime support in the county, that both met the needs of vulnerable service users and was deliverable within the council’s financial constraints. Following engagement and development of new proposals, the council wished to formally consult and engage with those who would be affected – including service users, voluntary and private sector service providers of care and support, staff, volunteers and other stakeholders. The aim was to guarantee a core service for the most vulnerable, while supporting services provided by local communities.
What we did
TCC was tasked with independently analysing and reporting consultation feedback detailing respondents’ views. Response channels included online and paper surveys, letters, emails, formal submissions, as well as focus groups and workshops. In total, we analysed feedback representing over 1,000 participants, including service users, carers, family members, as well as organisations and elected representatives. The analysis of quantitative and qualitative data from surveys, and qualitative data from focus groups and phone calls, letters and emails allowed us to produce a comprehensive report of respondents’ views. It helped the council to understand their opinions on necessary reform in daytime care, and their feelings about the proposals.
The responses submitted through the consultation raised a number of issues, priorities and concerns from respondents about the proposals and the future of daytime support in the county. Having considered the consultation response, the council’s original proposals were changed to reflect comments made – with £875,000 extra being spent. The changes were made in line with the council’s recognition of a need to enable a smoother transition period than was envisaged before the consultation, demonstrating the power of consultation processes to have a meaningful, positive impact on service change and people’s lives.