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Beverley - Commissioner & Co-Chair of WM ADASS Carers’ Network

Written by: Beverley Stevens
Published on: 14 Nov 2022

Hello! My name is Beverley and I am a commissioner at Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council with lead responsibility for carers support services, along with advocacy, direct payments support and support to people with sensory impairments.

A commissioner ensures that the right services and support are in place to meet the social care and support needs of local people who are vulnerable, elderly, or with poor mental or physical health conditions or disabilities, and their carers and families.

A commissioner looks at, and analyses, local supply of social care services, demand or need for support, plans the services or support to meet the demand, puts the services in place (usually by a tender or competitive process for contracted services, or by funding a grant to a service, setting up, or redesigning services) and then reviews them to ensure they are continuing to meet demand effectively and if not, makes improvements. For example, I give funding to voluntary organisations who support parents of carers with disabilities, Carers from Ethnic Minority Groups and Communities, carers of people with dementia etc.

I became a commissioner a few years ago when my secondment ended in another Local Authority. Before that I studied Sociology, Social Policy, Psychology,Beverley Article Statistics and Economics for A level/Degree and then worked in the NHS for a couple of years before starting in local government. I previously worked in research, equalities, regeneration, and then on the Community Strategy, which was a project working in partnership with Health, Police, local Economic Partnerships to improve the City. Commissioning suits me as it uses my varied background and involves partnership working with many different people and organisations.

There is no typical day, every day is different – but the job usually involves liaising with providers who deliver the local carers support services, reviewing information and advice to carers, encouraging the take up of vaccinations, peer support and providing training for carers. I particularly enjoy talking to carers who use our services and give their views on caring and the value of the support they receive and in some cases, get involved in delivering. I also work closely with social workers and operational managers to ensure we are working together to support carers and their families.

I used to be a carer for a close relative so feel I have first-hand knowledge and experience of caring which helps me to see services and support from their point of view. I also know how caring changes over time – from starting to care to bereavement.

Working in a local authority is varied, challenging and rewarding. Every day is different, there are a range of opportunities and solutions and there are a wide range of people you meet and build relationships and partnerships with.

Beverley Stevens

Commissioner - Sandwell Council

Co-Chair of WM ADASS Carers’ Network

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