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Short Term Assessment Unit (STAU)

The Council and Riverside Housing are building a Short-Term Assessment Unit facility in Sandbrook Road, Ainsdale.  The short-term assessment unit is for 

  • Individuals in difficult times (this could be for many different reasons)
  • When a person needs a more detailed assessment, they can stay in the accommodation. This gives us more time to understand them and their needs.
  • Placement - Where they live is no longer suitable.

When staying in the unit they will be part of an assessment of their needs so we ‘get it right first time’ when they return to the community.  We can then plan and prepare the right move for them, with the right support and suitable housing.

This service will support:

  • People with a learning disability and / or autism who have complex care needs and / or behaviours that challenge.
  • Young people transitioning to adult services who have complex care needs and / or behaviours that challenge.
  • It is expected that more people will need this support in the future.

More information about this can be found in the presentation below.

Stage 2 - Short Term Assessment Unit Presentation (pdf 1.02MB)

Sandbrook Coproduction Group

The Sandbrook coproduction group stood on the development site in high-vis and hard hats.

We have set up the Sandbrook Coproduction Group to help us to design a new service for people with Learning Disabilities and Autism in Sefton.  We want to work together to create and design the best environment for those who will use it. 

Here is what we mean by coproduction:

Co Production Slide (pdf 88KB)

We had two meetings face-to-face meetings and an online meeting in September to share more information about the plans for the Short-Term Assessment Unit and to talk about how parents and carers and service users can be part of the design of this new service, including the:

  • Decoration and style ideas
  • Sensory room design
  • Furnishings and lighting
  • Outdoor and shared spaces
Sandbrook Coproduction Group Flyer (pdf 1.12MB)

We also had two meetings in October to talk about and share ideas for the Sensory Room and the garden areas and then the furnishings and decoration and the shared spaces.  

Sandbrook Coproduction Group Flyer 2 (pdf 963KB)

a photo of the co-production group meeting

At the Co-production meeting in October the group shared experiences and best practice examples and creative ideas to make sure the sensory room meets future needs. Things that we cannot change include:

  • We cannot spend more than £30k
  • Size and layout must meet the room dimensions
  • It must have an adult focus

The Sandbrook Co-production Group is working with Dr Letizia Palumbo, of the Vision and Cognition Group of the Psychology Department at Liverpool Hope University who is leading a team of researchers to conduct research into the effectiveness of multisensory environments on people’s stress levels.

The initial research phase has taken place in the sensory room of Liverpool Hope University. Moving forward, the plan is to extend the research protocol to a participatory group of individuals with learning disabilities with/without autism. The key objective of the research is to gather knowledge which can inform important decisions for improvements in the use of the sensory room inside the Short-Assessment Unit.

The plan for the garden areas is below:

Garden areas (pdf 716KB)

The group also talked about ideas for the garden areas.  The proposal is to split the garden into four zones.

 These included:

  • Furniture
  • Flower and vegetable beds (raised?)
  • Equipment (exercise) (fixed or moveable)
  • Sensory needs colours and smells
  • Quiet zone

Below is also the plan for the apartment rooms.  The Co-production Group also discussed ideas for the furnishings and decoration.

Room areas (pdf 134KB)

A summary of the discussions about the sensory room, garden design and furnishing and decoration can be found here:

Short Term Assessment Unit Summary Of Discussions (pdf 959KB)

Although the group has met a few times, you can still get involved.  The group met again on Thursday 15th December 2022 from 1pm - 3pm, to look at and agree what we have discussed so far.

Sandbrook Coproduction Group Flyer Dec 22 (1) (pdf 1.06MB)

The next sessions will be to start looking at the care and support.  This will be the start of a large piece of work and will be discussed and coproduced over a long period of time. 

If you are interested, you are very welcome to get involved with this. We need your thoughts and ideas.

A meeting took place on Wednesday 1st February, 1.00 - 3.00pm.  More information can be found in the flyer below.

Sandbrook Coproduction Group Feb 23 (pdf 457KB)

The meeting started looking at the coproduction of the care and support specification. Below is the feedback from the day and by email.  The questions asked at the meeting have been added to the Question and Answer section below.

Sandbrook Corpoduction Group Participants Feedback 1St Feb 2022 (pdf 87KB)

There was a meeting of the Sandbrook project on 25th April 2023. 

A flyer advertising the April meeting is below.

Sandbrook Coproduction Group April 2023 (pdf 269KB)

Here is the presentation that we looked at on the 25th April.  This gives a summary of what the coproduction group has done so far and what areas we will be looked at on the 25th April.

STAU Phase 3 Specification (pdf 429KB)

25th April meeting notes.

The meeting on Wednesday 24th May between 6.00 - 8.00pm focussed on outcomes for individuals.

Below is the flyer advertising the meeting.

Sandbrook Co Production Group Meeting 24Th May 2023 (pdf 972KB)
Sandbrook Short Term Assessment Unit Evening Meeting 24.05.23 (pdf 67KB)

Here is a timetable of when the meetings will take place looking at care and support for the Assessment Unit.  It looks at what will be discussed at each of the meetings. 

Timetable Of Sandbrook Coproduction (pdf 76KB)

A co-production meeting was held on the 22nd June 2023. The purpose of the meeting was to look at eligibility for care and support, the referrals process and response times and key partners and wider support.  The flyer and the notes from the meeting are below.

Flyer for the 22nd June meeting.

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The meeting on the 2nd August looked at contract monitoring and quality assurance of the care and support specification.

Below are the notes from the meeting and two photographs of some of the feedback from people at the meeting about contract monitoring and quality assurance and one of the meeting itself.

August 2023 meeting notes (pdf 71KB)

Here are the notes from the meeting in September.

Sandbrook Coproduction Group September 2023 meeting notes (pdf 115KB)

There was a meeting that took place on 3rd November.  The notes of the meeting are below.

Notes STAU November 2023 (pdf 65KB)

Ground-breaking ceremony.

On the 13th March, members of the Co-production Group joined Cabinet Member Paul Cummins, Phil Porter, Sefton Council Chief Executive and representatives from the council and Riverside Housing to celebrate work starting on the site where the short term assessment unit will be built.

This marks a milestone of co-production activity to help design the assessment unit and the group will continue to be involved in designing the sensory room and the care and support specification, making sure that lived experience is considered as part of the design.

The co-production group on the new site in high vis jackets.

Meeting of the Co-production Group - March 2024.

There was a meeting that took place on the 14th March. 

The purpose of this meeting was to look at:

  • Potential name of building.
  • Draft of the service specification – what we will ask the provider to do.
  • Training planning for those involved in the commissioning of the care and support services.

The notes of the meeting are below.

Notes STAU March 24 (pdf 70KB)

The last meeting took place on the 1st May.  The focus of the meeting was on the design of the Sensory Room.  Liverpool Hope University attended to share the results of the research study they had done and to plan the next stage of the research. The notes of the meeting are below.

May 2024 notes (pdf 316KB)

The next meeting of the Coproduction Group.

The next meeting will take place in person at Bootle Town Hall (Committee Room) on the 26th June, between 1.00 - 3.00pm.  Or if you want to attend using ZOOM, please contact Steve Metcalf on steve.metcalf@sefton.gov.uk.

Below are the questions we have been asked so far and the response to each question.


Yes, it will be the responsibility of Sefton to appoint the care and support provider. 

Yes, there will be a tender process which will take a few months to complete. Tender - Tendering is the process an organisation (council) follows when they need goods or services. The council invites other care and support providers to put forward a proposal or bid to provide these goods/services.

The co-production process will consider the percentage of marks on price and percentage of marks on quality.  The right provider is the main thing.  It will be a be-spoke specification that will help us to achieve the outcomes for local people.

Not to date but will be asked to look at the care and support specification and information will be provided around the provision to enable them to be part of the holistic approach to ensure service are part of the ongoing provision.

Yes, the specification for the care and support will have minimum skill sets that are required. Other professionals that support the assessment process will have qualifications based on their roles (social care staff for example).

A specification is the set of rules that we will put together that the  care and support provider must follow within the “tender”.

No, it will not be a locked unit.  The security will be by design to help ensure that it is a safe environment for residents and staff.

Person centred support plans and appropriate risk assessment will be put in place for all individuals who utilise the service. The security by design and subtle features built into the building will help aid safety for all.

Some will and some may utilise the service to bring them closer to home.

The Coproduction group can help make the decisions about flooring.

Yes, the Assessment Unit will have wide doors, suitable for wheelchairs and other mobility aides.

Yes, there will be an accessible toilet and hoist.  The separate bathroom will also have a hoist and the apartments will also have ceiling tracking to be able to use hoists, if needed.

The Care and Support Team. If there is a cause to isolate, then there will be an investigation to understand why, and the action taken to stop this from happening again.

There will be door sensors and the door fob can be deactivated.  There will be an individual risk assessment for each resident.

Yes, if they want to.  The apartments are self-contained and also have assisted technology.

No, the bathrooms all have showers.  It will be monitored, and the design of the bathroom will allow for baths to be installed should it be decided that some rooms need a bath.  If anyone would like a bath, they can use the separate assisted bathroom facility.

The lighting will be autism friendly.

Yes, there will be televisions in each apartment.

Not sure, there will have been cross over in terms of people being invited to this group who also formed part of the day opportunities group.

Yes, the Asperger’s team have been invited to be involved and they are aware through the involvement in the Autism Subgroup. Where appropriate the Asperger's team will be involved in an assessment.

The Assessment Unit will be the last because we do not want any construction happening at the time of people living there.  We anticipate that it will take approximately two years from planning to being ready for people to start being assessed.  We want to make sure that the care staff are fully trained and familiar with the building.

The mobilisation period for the service provider will be 6 – 9 months. This will allow the provider to recruit and train staff and be ready for when the unit is opened.

We will need to have the specification for care and support ready for 9 – 12 months’ time.  Once the specification is ready it will be agreed and will be part of the tendering process for the service provider.

Yes, absolutely, this will be part of the ongoing coproduction group and monitoring of the service.

CQC will regulate this service.  We will also be working with Sefton Healthwatch too. 

This is still to be finalised and agreed.

This is the process of a child who is receiving care and or support from children’s social care moving over to adult social care. Planning a transition is not a single event but is a gradual process of supporting a young person and their family through their teenage years and into adulthood, building up their confidence and ability to manage the care and support they need. The process should ideally begin around the age of 14 years of age.

This is still to be finalised and agreed.

This is still to be finalised and agreed.

This will be an individual’s choice.  They could stay with their current GP as it will only be a temporary move into the short-term assessment unit.

We will speak to health colleagues about this.

The approval for emergencies will be from senior managers.  There will be revenue funding available to support.  The contract will have funding for those without a care package.

It will be for both.  Some people will have a care package and others won’t have a package of care.  The package of care will be from the care and support unit.  This will be discussed further with the care and support providers.

Will add representative to the invite list for future meetings.

It will form part of the individual social worker assessment.  There will be core hours, but some will be specific to support the needs of the individual and their individual living skills.  This will include conversations with families and health professionals etc.


Last Updated on Thursday, May 30, 2024

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