Better local commissioning for older people

For those not familiar with COPSINS this is the Consortium of Older Peoples Services in Southwark. There are six partners in COPSINS which are Age UK Lewisham and SouthwarkAlzheimers SocietyBlackfriars SettlementLink Age SouthwarkSouthwark Pensioners Centre, and Time and Talents Association.

COPINS was established in 2012, with the aim of providing the best quality of services for older people in Southwark which are sustainable, flexible and responsive.

The UK’s population is aging and although London and Southwark’s age profile is younger than the national average, it still brings about serious challenges. Southwark’s older population ranks 6th nationally for the proportion of older people living in an income deprived household. Over 50 per cent are dependent upon means tested benefits, over 40 per cent live alone and only a third feel that they have adequate social contact.

This climate of increased demand and dwindling resources has driven the public and voluntary sector to join together. Southwark Council and the CCG have recognised that it is vital that resources are concentrated on the front line, pooling knowledge of need and joint expertise on what works to deliver effective preventative interventions for older people. Priorities and approaches will be decided jointly. This has been a positive response to a request by the local voluntary and community sector to a new way of commissioning older people’s services.

It builds on the new Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) Strategy, a local Early Action Commission and work following Age Friendly Borough accreditationall initiated by the local voluntary and community sector. The Strategy agreed last November contains a commitment to joint local delivery of a shared early action and preventative agenda. On 24th May  we are hosting an event to update the sector on the progress that has been made against the VCS strategy. Tickets are still available.

This is the beginning of a new process. If successful it could be rolled out to other service areas. This innovative approach fits well with the measures announced by the Minister for Civil Society in December around utilising the expertise and knowledge of small charities to help shape and deliver public services. Community Southwark has been engaged in developing this work and we hope to hear some news of the proposals to take this forward later in the summer.