Peterborough City Council and care providers from across the city have come together in a ground-breaking initiative to ensure consistent high quality care is the norm for all those receiving care in Peterborough.
Peterborough Providers’ Forum has been established to enhance communication, to protect vulnerable adults and provide an efficient and quality service to local residents.
The pioneering project brings together top executives from the council, health trusts, such as the ambulance service, and senior directors from care providers to work towards the Government’s vision of integrated healthcare.
The Forum was initiated by PJ Care and Peterborough Care when the care providers became increasingly unhappy with the quality of communication with Peterborough City Council, particularly in regards to the adult safeguarding process which was being revised following the introduction of the Care Act.
Martin Green, Chief Executive of Care England, a representative body for independent social care services was asked to chair the initial meetings of the forum.
Martin said “I was asked to chair the forum at a time when the relationships between care providers and the local authority were very poor and I was asked to get involved to see if we could work cooperatively to improve relationships.”
Council Directors Wendi Ogle-Welbourn and Adrian Chapman welcomed the invitation to join the forum.
Ms Ogle-Welbourn, Corporate Director People & Communities at Peterborough City Council said “I was delighted that the Peterborough Providers Forum was set up as this has provided for greater joint working between providers and the local authority. It has enabled us to build better relationships which will most certainly lead to improvements in systems and processes and most importantly services to Peterborough residents.”
The forum so far has eased tensions and paved the way for collaborative working between all parties involved.
Johann van Zyl, Chair of the Forum said “We welcome this opportunity to have frank and open discussions with the council as well as other public health and social care organisations. The most important part of an integrated health and social care system is the patient and we are all working towards improving our services with them in mind.”
Changes have already been made to the structure of the Council team and the benefits of an improved set-up are being felt across the City. The independent board that oversees adult safeguarding in Peterborough now includes two representatives from the forum, enabling the views, skills and experience of the private sector to add to the on-going drive for Peterborough to be the safest city in the UK for people in care.
Martin Green who has chaired the meetings since May added “The forum has made extremely good progress and as a result of its formation the relationships between care providers and the local authorities have been transformed. Great credit for this needs to go to the Chief Executive of the Council and her senior officers, and all the care providers who have come together to improve communication and relationships.”
Neil Russell, Chairman of PJ Care said “the Peterborough Providers’ Forum is only the first step on the way to making Peterborough the safest city in the UK for the vulnerable, but it is a big step and with the Forum working closely with local authorities we can ensure that the safeguarding process is never abused or used as a stick to beat private providers, we can ensure that those who need protection from abuse receive it quickly and efficiently.”
The team behind the forum are hoping its success inspires others to start working collaboratively. They also hope to have their invitation to join accepted by the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Peterborough and Stamford Hospital Trust.
Adrian Chapman, Service Director, Adult Services and Communities, Peterborough City Council said “The provider market is vital to the health and social care system in Peterborough, and the council is determined to support that market as best we can to enable providers to meet the growing demands of our population”
Ajay Majara, Director of Peterborough Care Ltd added “This is a truly innovative initiative, to have private companies, the local authority and NHS groups working together to enhance services for local people is virtually unheard of. I have high hopes for the forum and I’m very excited about our future and the future of health and social care in Peterborough.”