Developing a strategy for access to advice and support on Social Welfare Law in England and Wales
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Going viral - embedding social welfare advice in healthcare provision

This was the subject of a one day conference we held at Public Health England. In an event which brought together leading commissioners, advice providers and policy makers we explored we explored how advice can add value to health provision. The event was hosted jointly with ourselves, the Advice Services Alliance, and Youth Access as part of the NHS Strategic Partners programme with the voluntary and community sector to follow up on our recent report on “The role of Advice Services in Health Outcomes.”

The scene was set by Sir Michael Marmot who gave a video address on the importance of the healthcare system working beyond the boundaries of clinical practice to address the underlying social welfare problems causing ill-health, and working in partnership with the voluntary sector, especially advice providers. The evidential basis for the links between legal and health issues was then provided by Professor Pascoe Pleasance, an international authority on socio-legal data. This was followed by a keynote address by Norman Lamb MP covering everything that he had tried to as health Minister to break down delivery silos to enable integration of primary care, mental health services and community care and support. We also heard from Hugh Stickland, chief economist for Citizens Advice, on the socio-demographic and health data of CAB clients and their advice outcomes.

Conference agenda
|file: conference|

The Conference then proceeded with three consecutive panel discussions,
• one looking at “advice as a social prescription” composed of advice providers including MacMillan, the Bromley by Bow Centre, Youth Access, Age UK and Sheffield Citizens Advice which had pioneered welfare advice provision in an acute mental health setting.
• one composed of commissioning experts and agencies, including the Chair of Hull CCG, Derbyshire Public Health which fund CABx across all of Derbyshire’s GP practices, the Cabinet Member for Social Care in Southwark, and Professor Rob Poole from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and
• a final panel to discuss the “systems issues” which need to be addressed to scale up integrated welfare and health service, the panel included Lord Low, Dave Buck from the Kings Fund and Professor Mark Gamsu

A range of interesting possibilities and potential new partnerships were discussed and taken forwards, including embedding advice in Vanguard care models, the potential opportunities which may be provided by Devolution for integrating local delivery pathways, the responsibilities of local authorities under the Care Act, the development of social prescribing in mainstream medicine, the importance of wellbeing as an organising concept for Commissioning and the role of Health and Wellbeing Boards, the theories and practice of change-management under the Simon Stevens 5 year plan, and new VCS Alliances to promote social welfare advice within the health and social care economy.

The key message from the day was that collaboration works and produces health dividends, for example the data show that practical social welfare advice may in fact be more effective intervention for mental health patients than drugs. Whilst no one model has entirely the right answer, so this agenda may not be amenable to a top down prescriptive edict to make it happen and work, the join-up between healthcare and advice should be encouraged to “go viral.”

Sir Michael Marmot

Other speaker presentations

Pascoe Presentation

Pascoe-ASA-Low-Commmission-Health-2015-10-3-.pptx.ppt (MS Powerpoint Presentation - 2.59Mb) Pascoe Presentation

Julie Presentation

Low-Commission-14-October-2015.pptx.ppt (MS Powerpoint Presentation - 2.75Mb) Julie Presentation

Dan Presentation

Dan-Roper.pptx.ppt (MS Powerpoint Presentation - 730Kb) Dan Presentation


Below is a full report back from the Conference.

Health Conference Report

HEALTHCONFREPORT-3-.pdf (Adobe PDF - 1.92Mb) Health Conference Report