Employee Assistance Programme

Essex County Council - Provider Hub
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What are Day Opportunities for Adults with Disabilities

The term ‘Day Opportunities’ encompasses a diverse range of services and activities, which cater for a variety of different groups, including adults aged 18+ with a Learning Disability, Autism or Physical and/or Sensory Impairment.

Day Services is defined as:

Day Services are defined as buildings based or community-based services which are delivered outside of a person’s own home with a specific purpose to support people to have a fulfilling life. Day Opportunities should take place in an environment that is appropriate to, and meets the adults needs and preferences.

Day Opportunities can be thought of as a way to improve a person’s overall wellbeing, increase a person’s independence and to reduce social isolation and to meet specific outcomes to improve a person’s life.

Day Opportunities can also be a way of people having an opportunity to take part in various interests and activities, learn new skills, develop friendships and support networks and prepare for paid employment. In addition, Day Opportunities provide an important source of respite for informal carers and families.

Day Opportunities are not currently regulated by the Care Quality Commission. However, providers are required to adhere to the national Social Care Excellent (SCIE) guidance regarding the safe, effective delivery of day care in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic which can be accessed via: Delivering safe, face-to-face adult day care (scie.org.uk) 

Adults should be enabled to live as independently as possible, supporting them to need less support and be less reliant on services and to lead a life which is meaningful to them. Modern Day Opportunity services can support this, by enabling people to live safely as part of their community and to increase their abilities.

ECC’s current approach is for adults to be supported to explore and have their outcomes met by accessing various solutions, such as employment, volunteering, community focused support and peer led opportunities.

The scope of support which an individual receives will vary depending on their assessed social care needs. The scope of support may be conducted either on a 1:1 basis or in small group sessions which may be led by paid staff and/or volunteers. In addition, an individual may choose to adopt a direct payment to secure their care and support. An individual may also employ a Personal Assistant (PA) to access the support they need in their local community. Further details regarding Personal Assistants can be accessed via: Personal Assistants | Provider Hub | Essex (essexproviderhub.org)

The Council holds a series of contracts with providers designed to support adults aged 18 and over to access a range of purposeful activities outside their own home which enable individuals to increase their skills, gain independence and develop confidence in their own community. These contracts also incorporate the provision of respite for unpaid carers.

The current contracts support the following cohorts:

  • Adults with a Disability (AWD): support for individuals with learning disabilities including autistic spectrum disorders and/or physical and sensory impairments
  • Older People (OP): support to enable adults to play an active and valued role in their community and retain their skills, knowledge and independence for as long as possible, whilst reducing their dependency upon traditional day services.
  • Unpaid Carers: provision of respite from their informal caring role.
  • Young people aged 18-25

Further information regarding the scope of the current Day Opportunities offer in Essex and insight regarding the market position can be accessed via The Essex Market section of this website.

In addition to the Day Opportunities contracts, the Council also operates an onboarding scheme which is designed to secure support for vulnerable adults whose needs cannot be met by an existing provider to mitigate the risk of unmet needs.

If your organisation is interested in delivering day opportunities for vulnerable people within the administrative boundaries of Essex (excluding the unitary authorities of Southend-on- Sea and Thurrock), please contact: Chris Gee- Procurement Manager: chris.gee2@essex.gov.uk

Please note that the Council is unable to guarantee any future volume of work to providers or offer formal business development advice to prospective providers aside from signposting organisations to potential external advisors. However, the Council is unable to accept any liability whether express or implied for independent advice which is subsequently provided by an external third party acting outside the Council’s sphere of control. This position equally applies to promoting or marketing potential day opportunities services which remains the sole responsibility of providers as part of their organisational responsibilities.

This describes how to work with us if you are a new Day Opportunities provider, a provider that does not already contract with the County Council, or if you are an existing provider that is considering a new site.

We would always recommend speaking to Essex County Council before committing to running a new service. We can advise on whether we think there is a need for the service you are proposing and will be able to give useful pointers and issues to consider before progressing any further.

For new providers we want to make sure that your service matches what is needed, that you meet the requirements for an organisation working with Essex County Council, and that you have a contract in place with us.

For existing providers who are thinking of a new scheme, we want to make sure that your proposal fits with our needs and with the broader range of provision in your area, and that your new site is set up on our systems to take referrals.

In general before working with us there will be a conversation with our Procurement team, who will guide you through the process. You may need to provide information about your plans and any information you have about costs. There is likely to be a visit involved and discussions with members of the Council’s Commissioning team.

To begin these discussions, contact Chris Gee on Chris.gee2@essex.gov.uk or Lorna Venters on Lorna.venters@essex.gov.uk

If you are, as a provider, struggling with any aspect of your organisation or your relationship with Essex County Council, you can contact the Procurement team to discuss next steps.

This could be for issues such as:

  • Working relationship with ECC,
  • Financial Sustainability
  • Staffing or employment issues
  • Relationships with any aspect of the broader social care or health system

For any of these issues, or to discuss any aspect of your operation you can contact the Procurement team:

Chris Gee on Chris.gee2@essex.gov.uk

Lorna Venters on Lorna.venters@essex.gov.uk

If you have any issues relating to payment of invoices you should contact the accounts payable service centre on Ap.servicecentre@essex.gov.uk

To help you decide if your concern is a safeguard, please refer to ECC's Safeguarding Adults Decision Support Guidance. Here you will find examples of when, and when not, to raise a safeguarding concern. However, the list is not exhaustive therefore should you need advice you can call the Organisational Safeguarding Duty line on 033301 39032 or email organisational.safeguards@essex.gov.uk.

To raise a safeguard call:

Essex - 0345 6037630 (out of hours 0345 606 1212)

Southend - 01702 215008                

Thurrock - 01375 511000

OR complete a Safeguarding Adult Concern Form (previously SETSAF)

You can also speak to the Adult's allocated social worker if known.

Further information about reporting a concern

There is a range of useful information, guidance and contact information available on the Essex Safeguarding Adults Board website.

Before you make any decisions to expand, develop, change, close or reduce a day opportunity scheme, please contact the procurement team to discuss.

We may be able to offer important advice, guidance on steps you need to take and help you plan what comes next.

Our aim is to make sure there are sustainable day services that meet the needs of the people in Essex. We can make sure that the right discussions take place with the right teams and individuals.

For closures or reductions of services we can discuss how this can be handled safely and what we can do to minimise the impact and bring in the right social care teams.

For expansion, development or changes of service we will be able to bring in colleagues from the commissioning and social care teams to help ensure your plans work.

Contact us on

Chris Gee on Chris.gee2@essex.gov.uk

Lorna Venters on Lorna.venters@essex.gov.uk

Last updated: 08/06/2023