I spoke at the National Children and Adults Services conference last week, giving a providers’ perspective on the Care Bill alongside Sandie Keene, ADASS President, giving a commissioners’ perspective and Jon Rouse, Director-General of Care Services, giving the Dept Health’s view on the way forward. Here’s what I said:
The Care Bill recognises that our current range of processes and services do not consistently add up to an experience which is either fully caring or fully social. It tries to do something quite profound, in re-framing the whole of social care assessment, commissioning and provision around helping people to achieve ‘well-being’. Well-being in the Bill isn’t just physical and mental health, it’s also about the strength of our relationships. It’s about whether our needs are met, but also about whether we have the opportunity to contribute to those around us.
This takes social care deep into territory where services are a vital, but junior, partner in a complex ecology of care and support. The challenge becomes not integrating health and social care but integrating our formal and informal care systems into a networked model of care.
That idea of a sector whose job is to help people not only to get good support but also to live good lives, can be seen in the Bill’s attempts to ensure assessments and planning processes not only look for people’s needs, but also help people to build upon their strengths, in the new rights and recognition for family carers and the new duties intervene early, rather than leaving people to slip into crisis.
It all sounds a long way from the procurement of 15 minute slots of minimum wage care which many providers are asked to deliver, but which few local people want. The key to change will lie in the success of the Bill and subsequent guidance in demonstrating that meeting the new duties is the only hope for sustainable services and that meeting them requires putting citizens at the centre of every stage in decision-making.
Because if we get serious about co-design and co-production, supporting the creativity of citizens and providers, we will focus on the things which really matter to people: on good lives, not cheap services. We will listen to older people who say they hate feeling lonely or useless. We will commission services which meet care needs but which also help people to contribute to those around them. We will want to help people to stay safe, but also to connect with each other.
In other words, services will arrange themselves around the contributions of individuals, families and Continue reading