Whose social care future is it anyway?

The Whose Social Care is it Anyway? Inquiry Group issued their first findings today from talking with over 500 people who use social care support. This was done by Social Care Future, a grassroots movement with a vision which sounds very different to so much of what the social care sector talks about:

‘We all want to live in the place we call home with the people and things that we love, in communities where we look out for one another, doing the things that matter to us’ 

They talked peer to peer with people about how to make that vision a reality. These are the five changes people called for:

Note that people didn’t talk about quality, safety, prevention, integration, innovation or the other jargony terms that so much social care policy can get wrapped up in.

The report asks whether national organisation like us at Shared Lives Plus will ‘commit to use the Social Care Future vision … in your work? Will you take direct action yourselves and support your members to act on the 5 key changes?’

These are easy commitments for us to make. We agree with these five changes and will try to make them happen. Shared Lives, Homeshare and Family by Family all help people directly with building communities where everyone belongs, living in a place that feels like home and leading the lives we all want to live. We are helping local areas to invest more money in growing those ways of working, for instance, working with the North East councils and ADASS to recruit more Shared Lives carers and match more people into supportive households.

We still have a long way to go on sharing power and being a charity that ‘meets people as equals‘ but our colleagues who have lived experience and are part of our team are helping Shared Lives Plus on that journey, and we are helping our local members to have better planning conversations so that everyone gets to shape their local services.

We are calling on the government to invest in models which bring these changes about as part of the long-awaited long term plan for social care. We could have a very different social care future to the social care we have at present, but only if we recognise that it’s a future which has to be shaped by two groups of people:

  • the people and families who make most use of social care now
  • the groups and communities who are most likely to be ignored or poorly served by social care

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