In our series of Christmas blogs about what it means to be 'in
control' at this time of year, our Chief Executive Julie
Stansfield, Sam Clarke from Inclusion North and Sian Lockwood from
Community Catalysts talk about their hopes for 2014.
The Christmas season and turn of the year is
always a good time to take stock. This year has been a busy one
(when was it ever not) but what has all that effort been
Chris Hatton's great blog post on what has changed (or
not) after Winterbourne View certainly got us all
In his post, Chris asks 'who are we to tell anyone how it's
done, whatever the 'it' is...' That's certainly a good question
Chris. What is 'it'? What is 'it' that we want to see
Is 'it' getting a personal budget or health budget?
Is 'it' getting access to care?
Or is 'it' a getting a good health or social care
For us 'it' is genuine inclusion where people are able to
live a decent, ordinary life.
A life where access to support via a personal budget or
health budget helps to achieve that ordinary life. The ordinariness
feels important here - not to deny our differences or the very real
inequality experienced by some people.
We are passionate about personalisation and so in our
different ways we have all been working to deliver the
personalisation vision - but somehow at the end of the year that
vision seems to have become blurred and corrupted.
We want a genuinely inclusive society where everyone is able
to live a decent ordinary life. We need processes to help achieve
that vision and personal care and health budgets are important ways
of helping people have control of their support. But the
focus on the process has meant that many people have lost sight of
what personalisation is all about.
What use is a personal budget if there is no real choice of
things to buy - or if the budget is so small that there is nothing
out there that you can afford?
What does it do to you if people only focus on what you
can't do and think that it is enough to provide a service that
keeps you clean and fed but which doesn't allow you to use your
gifts, to learn and to dream?
What happens when the focus is only on keeping you safe, and
the rules which are meant to stop you being exploited also block
love and kindness and human relationships?
What is the point of council rules which force you to buy
something from a big traditional service because it is on an
'approved' list - which is inaccessible to the local, quirky
service that you really want to buy?
We know that professionals often feel as trapped by the
system as the people who need some help to live their life.
We know that they want to be able to do the job they came in
to social care to do - helping people to find ways to live a full
life, to have friendships and relationships, hobbies and jobs, to
laugh and to love.
We would like 2014 to be the year where people passionate
about true personalisation (wherever and whoever they are) take
stock and find ways to work together to tackle the systems, rules
and attitudes which corrupt the vision and stop people living their
lives. We know there are lots of people out there wanting the same
We're interested in how we all work together to make this
happen…… What do you think?
Join in the conversation with us - #peopleunite
By Julie Stansfield, Sam Clark and Sian Lockwood.