Integrated Impact Assessments – Adult Sensory Support

Adult Sensory Support services delivery arrangements are changing following a decision at the Edinburgh Integration Joint Board on 10 December 2019. The key change is that the Council has re-examined the provision of the specialist social work service for visually impaired people, and re-arranged this to be provided on a generic basis by the Council’s locality social work teams. People with sight loss will continue to be able to access social work assessment and care management services.

All other contracted services for adult sensory support are largely unchanged, with some modernised elements (e.g. a greater emphasis on the demonstration of assistive technology equipment) agreed following engagement. All commissioned services are subject to a tender process for new contracts commencing October 2020. Update: the deaf services contacts did commence October 2020, however the two sight loss contracts commenced in April 2021 following a six month extension between October 2020 and March 2021 of the existing provider.

Engagement was carried out with both service users and professionals working in the sensory field. Five focus groups (held January through to May 2019) for service users and carers were held with a total of 27 citizens (ten hard of hearing people, four Deaf BSL users, one person with a cochlear implant, six with vision impairment, two deafblind people and four carers). An additional five people with a vision impairment were also involved in a citizen’s forum for the Physical Disability Commissioning Plan. Results from these groups were used to shape a service user questionnaire.

The online adult needs assessment had unique features to ensure that people with sensory impairments could fully participate and record their views.

  • The questionnaire was sited on the Council’s Consultation Hub on the website which is designed to comply with the AA level of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 issued by the World Wide Web Consortium WC3. These guidelines are designed to meet the needs of visually impaired people using websites.
  • A BSL video was made and embedded on to the Consultation Hub, which we understand to be a Scottish first, which outlined to BSL users how they could access an interpreter to record their views.
  • Deafblind Scotland enabled their members to answer the questions through guide communicators, who recorded answers manually.

The online consultation ran for the standard six weeks from June to mid-July 2019, and yielded 62 responses, with a variety of people with all forms of sensory impairment and their carers. The largest group of respondents was in the 45-54 age group, probably reflecting that fewer older people are online.

An interim IIA was completed in February 2020, and a review of actions completed September 2021.

Identify facilitator, Lead Officer, report writer and any partnership representative present and main stakeholder (e.g. NHS, Council)

Name Job Title Date of IIA training Email
Sarah Bryson (facilitator) Planning and Commissioning Officer 2016
Susan Shippey (lead officer) Planning and Commissioning Officer 2016
Evidence Available? Comments: what does the evidence tell you?
Data on populations in need Yes 350 BSL users, 5,500 blind and partially sighted people on register, up to 80,000 hard of hearing. 200 deafblind.
Data on service uptake/access Yes Services well used by groups above
Data on equality outcomes No Not collected by previous service providers apart from one service (age, gender, ethnicity), and in CVI registration process (age, gender only)
Research/literature evidence Some
Public/patient/client experience information Focus group evidence People broadly satisfied with services, want equipment to be modernised
Evidence of inclusive engagement of service users and involvement findings Extensive BSL video, interpreters at events, etc.
Evidence of unmet need Deafblind Further work will be considered by See Hear lead to develop knowledge of the deafblind community in Edinburgh and how to meet needs
Good practice guidelines Yes Referenced in contract specifications
Environmental data No
Risk from cumulative impacts No

Equality, Health and Wellbeing and Human Rights


  • People with sight loss will have access to a comprehensive social work service in their own locality which addresses holistic needs.


  • Loss of specialist knowledge of sight loss of provider.

Affected populations

  • All groups of people with a vision impairment

Environment and Sustainability


  • Reduced staff travel due to social work staff moving from city centre base to localities – fitting with 20 minute neighbourhood plans.


  • None



  • Social work clients will be more easily referred to additional Council services such as benefits advice and income maximisation.


  • None

The largely unchanged services will be delivered by third/independent sector providers, and the issues will be addressed through the usual contacting procedures. Equality and human rights and environmental and sustainability issues are addressed in service specifications and formed components of tender evaluation.

This service is for adults only.

Information was developed on both the Health and Social Care Partnership and the Council websites to replace information about current services. These websites are accessible.

Each social work client of the outgoing was written to individually to advise people of the change, and open cases were handed over by RNIB to the relevant locality team.

Information was added to the RNIB website to advise new potential service users of the route to a social work assessment through Social Care Direct.

If further evidence is required, please note how it will be gathered. If appropriate, mark this report as interim and submit updated final report once further evidence has been gathered.


Specific actions (as a result of the IIA which may include financial implications, mitigating actions and risks of cumulative impacts) Who will take them forward (name and contact details) Deadline for progressing Review
Social work clients to be informed of the change of provider and arrangements made with current provider for handover RNIB (outgoing provider) Jan-March 2021 competed by RNIB by March 2021
Linkages to be made between contracted services for people with a vision impairment (rehabilitation/registration and Eye Clinic Support Service) and the locality social work teams through meetings to develop local pathways following award of contract. Susan Shippey June 2021 Pathways published in June 2021, and updated in September 2021
Monitor service delivered in locality social work teams to people with a vision impairment through waiting list figures, complaints, monitoring numbers of service users and service user outcomes feedback. Susan Shippey October 2021 Monitoring to be reported to EIJB in October 2021
Locality social workers to receive training on visual impairment funded by See Hear strategy prior to existing contract end (March 2021) Susan Shippey March 2021 150 staff trained by end March 2021

Monitoring of the service will take place through assessment of regular AIS/Swift data. Contracts will be monitored through the usual contract management processes.

Tony Duncan's signature

Name: Tony Duncan, Head of Strategic Planning

Date: 3 September 20201