I have been reflecting with Lynne Elwell this week… What has
happened to the beginning of a liberation movement where people
were being freed? It seems people are now having to fight their way
to community. But isn't it everybody's right?
Taken from Herb Lovett in Dallas 1996… we are now in
'Community is not a place but a way of life. Community means
you choose where you live, with whom and what you do with your
life. You do not earn your way into ordinary schools. You do not
prove yourself ready to a team for the job you want. You apply to
your employer and start working. You do not prove to a team that
you're ready to have a home of your own. You live in one. You
should not have to be charming to get the help you need. But
we have people all the time having to prove they are good enough.
And that is just wrong.
And whose behaviour is difficult behaviour? When someone
spends all day working and they get a meaningless treat at the end
of it, who is behaving badly?
When someone gets ignored for being inappropriate or sent
off alone or is kept isolated, who is behaving badly?
When someone gets drugged up or tied down, who is behaving
When someone gets to earn a trip to the shops for not
annoying people, who is being manipulative? When someone gets
ignored for being inappropriate or is sent off alone or is kept
isolated, who is behaving ANTISOCAILLY?
When someone gets tied down or is drugged up, who is
When people get routinely physically restrained, whose
behaviour is out of control?
When people are kept apart from what they enjoy doing, apart
from the places they want to go, and apart from the people they
want to be with, whose behaviour is antisocial?
And when people keep doing the same meaningless
rehabilitation exercises year after year, or keep the same
behaviour plan year after year and nothing good changes for the
person, who is slow to learn and fails to profit from
Community is not about therapy, though we can all grow in
it. If we listen to people and heed what they are telling us,
not just with their words but with their actions as well, we
temporarily able-bodied can grow past our difficult behaviour and
become honourable members of community as well.'
20 years on and this is still a powerful read, relevant and
true. 2016 also marks 20 years of Partners in Policymaking, brought
to England by Lynne Elwell.
This year we celebrate 20 years of Partners in Policymaking in
England. I am honoured to have been part of this amazing movement
since its birth in 1996 in Oldham. We are working on both how to
celebrate the achievement and increase the success of Partners. Too
many achievements to mention, but they are everywhere, making such
a significant difference. Wherever there is something brilliant
happening, you tend to find there is a Partners graduate in
Whilst Partners in Policymaking is a leadership course, now a
suite of leadership courses, the element that continues the
movement is the network that has derived from it. People associated
with Partners and In Control are all part of the People
Power movement. Members are involved with a wide range
activities, such as:
- Coordinating and supporting Partner's leadership courses.
- Setting up and being involved in new initiatives like the "you
know" website, set up by Jayne Knight, Gail Rainford and others to
link support to people - www.youknow.org.uk
- Being part of parent partnerships supporting developments for
EHCs (Education, Health and Care plans) for children.
- Supporting families through the helpline with a range of advice
around PHBs (personal health budgets) for children and adults.
- Extending self-direction into areas within and beyond the
Last year we brought In Control's programmes together in one
Whole Life event. It covered all ages and all groups. The networks
built there were invaluable, watching mums of adults share their
experience with mums of young children, watching children and
adults workers talking together, providers and commissioners,
daughters of older people talking to commissioners of older
people's services. People usually separated by the way that
statutory systems work were brought together with the aim of making
lives better for people and seeing a whole life perspective.
We continue to strive to champion, check and challenge that
people who need support, regardless of why they might need it, have
control of it. We champion and support best practice, we check via
POET (personal outcome evaluation tool), a survey aimed to get the
voice of people who are at the receiving end making a difference to
policy and direction by highlighting what works and what doesn't
work. Partners and local gatherings enable these results to get
action to find solutions to what's not working, together as local
leaders. We challenge via reminding statutory services of the
ethics and give families the information to understand their rights
under the relevant legislation.
We believe together we are better - so if you are not linked to
the People Power network, now is the time - sign up here.
Let's make this the year of becoming honourable members of
community and unite the liberation movement that is so deeply