As we know, there is a very big rhetoric-reality gap between the
policy on personalisation and many people's real life experience.
At a local level, too many people are struggling to get their
rights to control their own support and are facing bureaucracy,
lack of support, over control by the system. Many local groups and
organisations are working as hard as they can to support people,
but such support has often been decimated by cuts and is struggling
to do all it would like.
In response to this, the National Network for
Self-Directed Support is a voluntary and informal
network that is being built with the support of In Control and
others. It has been exploring ways of connecting people working at
a local level with each other for mutual support and with external
sources of free advice and assistance to give more power to the
elbow of local efforts.
Just before Christmas, and despite terrible weather, we gathered
together a wide range of people keen to be part of the network -
disabled people, families, DPLOs, carers, organisations, support
groups, charities, lawyers and others. We spent the day working out
what were the key issues to tackle and what we could start to do
We identified many local challenges. To do practical planning
about what to do about them, we clustered them into four main
- Systems and policies that make self-directed support hard,
don't help to make it happen.
- Local professional and managerial cultures (taking back
- Knowledge (system, law, rules, possibilities etc.).
- Confidence, skills and support (of people and families).
In each of these categories we then asked people to think about
what could help. They listed lots of practical things that they
felt could shift the barriers and help people self-direct their
Next we asked people to think about 2 things:
- What can I do/offer to help?
- What could we ask other people or groups to do/offer to
This gave us a long list of things that the people present could
offer - knowledge, skills, capacity, personal support etc. It also
started to identify things that people and organisations not in the
room might be able to offer - giving us a list to follow up.
We ended the meeting with a practical plan for action. We're all
doing this on a voluntary basis, so don't have massive resources,
but felt that a "Jacob's Join" approach, where everyone can bring
something, was the way to start. First steps therefore were:
- Set up a facebook
page for people to start to connect and share.
- Follow up the offers people made so others can know more about
- Approach the groups and people outside the room that we
identified and ask if they can help.
- Set up an initial webinar programme on the areas we identified
as challenging, to share information and solutions.
- Meet again in November at the #socialcarefuture
These first steps will all be in place by spring 2018.
For more information contact Martin Routledge
Read the notes from December's meeting