Improving Legal Literacy: Implementing the Multiple Needs toolkit
Author: Stephen Willis, Service Coordinator – VOICES
People with multiple disadvantage are often denied access to services which they are legally entitled to due to frontline staff not fully understanding how the legal framework applies to the situation. The Service Coordination team at VOICES supported multiple customers who experienced this problem even though there were changes in the Care Act (2014). The issue identified was that the interpretation of the legislation at frontline level was both varied and confusing, thus often resulting in ineffective assessments of support and care needs.
For this reason, VOICES developed a toolkit to aid in seeking assessments under the Care Act. The toolkit serves both as a learning tool and as a practice-based instrument for multi-agency working which sets people’s circumstances and needs in the context of the Care Act and enables informed decision-making in the referral process.
Over the past year, as part of the VOICES Legacy Project focussing on promoting improved legal literacy, VOICES co-designed and co-delivered a programme of bespoke workshops in partnership with colleagues from Adult Social Care. Sessions were delivered to specific teams across the city with the purpose of providing learning to whole teams that could then support each other – with the help of the Project Officers – to embed the toolkit within practice and their organisation. The workshops were available from January 2021 to December 2021 and covered:
PART 1: VOICES Multiple Needs Toolkit: Facilitated by the VOICES team to offer guidance and instructions based on professional experience of using the toolkit in practice to better identify, understand and communicate support and care needs of customers.
PART 2: CARE ACT OVERVIEW: Facilitated by a team of Adult Social Care workers – a presentation and guidance to support services to better understand the role of Adult Social Care and what happens when you submit a referral to the department.
Following delivery of the workshop attendees were able to request follow-on support from the VOICES team to implement the toolkit into practice. Here are some examples of feedback received from colleagues within the partnership about their experience of using the toolkit:
“I really like this tool kit; it allows the client to be more involved with their needs and allows them to complete their parts with ease”
“I have used the toolkit in conjunction with a referral to Social Services and it did help to get an assessment. It is a really useful tool, and I would use it again if the need arose.”
“I feel the toolkit comes in handy for referrals that require more explanation and to gain more information from a person. I think it is very useful for individuals with multiple needs who perhaps don’t fit the stereotypical view of who Adult Social Care provides support to. It is a simple and easy to use tool that helps to guide a conversation to gain the relevant info needed to support a referral for an assessment.”
For more information on the Toolkit you can click here
To download a copy of the Toolkit you can click here