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Essex County Council - Provider Hub
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Market Context

The Council provides social care support and services for adults with a sensory impairment who are predominantly aged 18 - 65, however some people may be over 65. Some people with a sensory impairment may also have a physical impairment or dementia. 

Sensory Impairment can be hearing or visual loss for a person. In some instances, adults may have a Dual Sensory Impairment and may require help for both Impairments. In these circumstances adults will need support to adapt to their needs; this may include environmental adaptations, equipment, training, support in how to communicate to live in the community and helping to live independently. Some adults in this cohort are likely to require longer term support depending on their circumstances and needs.

Short term respite services can be provided to the unpaid carers due to the long-term nature of the impairments. Carers have given feedback to the Council that it can be difficult to accommodate planned respite breaks far in advance, it is considerably easier to plan more immediate respite care.

The Council provides both community and accommodation-based services for this cohort, via specific and framework contracts. Some contracts allow for providers to enter the market at set periods. For more information refer to the following services/contracts:

A financial assessment may be undertaken on adults who are in receipt of certain services. The adult can either have a managed service via one of the Council's contracts, or manage their own support via a direct payment, personal health budget or individual service fund. 

A new sensory contract is now in place for 5 years starting Nov 2023.. Specific work has been undertaken to transform the future of sensory services for residents in Essex. Based on feedback from people who use the service, the current contract has been shaped to increase the role of the voluntary sector in providing sensory services for people in Essex and growing the specialist rehab service.

The COVID impact highlighted is:

  • A number of lessons that have been learnt through pandemic in terms of challenges that people with sensory impairment face have been incorporated into our sensory model. There may be pent up demand that has not come to the surface yet as services continue to return to post pandemic levels.

Current market risks:

  • Limited specialist sensory providers in Essex to provide an all-age sensory service; we will develop the market to mitigate this.
  • Qualified sensory rehabilitation officers for sensory are scarce and this is being mitigated by ‘growing our own’ qualified offices by offering apprenticeships and training existing social care staff.

Our current area of focus is:

  • Gaps in the existing contract delivery are being addressed via reshaping the sensory model for people in Essex:
    • challenges in all age delivery of the contract.
    • use of digital innovation and technology.
    • working a lot more collaboratively with voluntary sector providers.
    • preparing the service for increased demand of sensory services in the future.
    • growing our own qualified sensory rehabilitation officers.
  • Addressing accommodation solutions for people with a sensory impairment.
  • Working closely with health partners and alliances to improve outcomes for people with a sensory impairment.
Last updated: 31/03/2024