Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Community Agents Essex scheme?

The Community Agents Essex service is a well-established countywide service supporting people who are older, have learning disabilities or Autism and informal carers to remain or reganin independent living and to act as an early intervention and support service to reduce referrals into social care. It can however identify when an individual does need that extra support from Adult Social Care or specialist support service and agents will support referrals where needed.

It is free to access and consists of a network of countywide agents and volunteers, based in local communities who can visit an individual’s home to provide support to develop independent living solutions, often from within their local community.

The Community Agents Essex scheme built on the initial pilot (Village Agents) providing support to vulnerable adults mainly aged 65+ in rural communities. Referrals can be made by individuals themselves, or freinds and family, by Social Care Direct, GPs and the community, with consent from the individual.

 

Why is the Community Agents Essex scheme needed?

The scheme helps to manage increasing demand on health and social care and support people who need assistance with remaining living independantly, but not necessarily by social care.. It links within the broader landscape of strengthening community resilience and mobilising communities across Essex, increasing independence and enabling residents to help and support themselves within their community. It is based on analysis of data that shows a significant number of older people contacting Social Care Direct could have been supported earlier in the community.

The Community Agents Essex scheme enables timely and effective resolution of issues, which achieves better outcomes for people in Essex and at the same time avoids escalation of need and crisis, and the associated social care costs.

 

So is the scheme purely about saving money?

No, it is responding to the findings of the Who Will Care Commission and the initial work done by the Whole Essex Community Budget Programme which shows that residents want to live independently, at home, in their community for as long as possible. However, it is important to recognise that ECC needs to make financial savings and is looking at how it can deliver improved services, for less, to residents. The Community Agents Essex scheme proposes savings while delivering the support residents want.

 

What is Essex County Council’s involvement in the scheme?

One of the main things to note about the scheme is that while ECC have funded this service for over seven years, because of the benefits demonstrated. Community Agents Essex annual reviews show the numbers of people helped to find solutions and what we have helped achieve. We are grateful for the support over the years from Essex County Council and have built up excellant relationships within the council as well as with other organisations and services.

 

How many people benefit from Community Agents Essex ?

It was originally expected that around 6,000 people per year woudl be supported, but we regularly exceed that number. in 2020 we received over 11,000 enquiries. To find out more please visit the reports section

 

Where does the service operate?

The service is countywide, except Thurrock and Southend. It operates in both rural and urban communities.

 

How many Community Agents are there?

The service has one project lead, 4 Service Coordinaters and 35 Community Agents. That equates to 2/3 agents per district. We also have volunteers who have been supporting the project through the Covid pandemic, especially with shopping requests.

Some of our agents have been with us from the begining and are very experienced. All have an excellant knowledge of their area and work as a network, supporting each other. We regularly undertake training to keep up to date and provide the best, most relevant and appropriate support we can. 

 

When did Community Agents start?

There was a pilot in Mid Essex before Community Agents began, but this countywide service started in 2014. In 2020 Community Agents expanded teh service to include individuals with a learning disability or Austism and their informal carers, we can also now be more flexible in terms of 'older people', so not only those aged 65+ and their informal carers. This is very much a person centred approach and needs driven, so we assess any referrral that comes into us to see if we are the right service for that individual.

 

How do I find out more about Community Agents?

Community Agents have a Facebook page where we promote teh service, we publish reports and our annual review and we can be contacted on our enquiries email or phone number, if you would like to talk to us about the service or volunteer.

Need help?

Community Agents are part of the Live Well partnership and referrals can be made by email or phone, through Essex Wellbeing Service. To arrange a free visit call or email us:

Tel: 0300 303 9988

Email: livewell.linkwell@nhs.net

For existing cases, where you have already been in contact with an agent or for general Community Agent Project enquiries, please phone or email:

Tel: 07540 720605 (mornings only)

Enquiries Email: caessex@essexrcc.org.uk

This email is only for enquiries, not referrals. It is monitored mornings only - please use livewell.linkwell@nhs.net for referrals