A young man from Scotland being allocated an individual budget
that enabled him to buy an accordion and lessons, which
subsequently led to him being offered a place at the Glasgow School
of Music, is just one of the team's highlights from 2014.
When we asked the In Control team to reflect a little on the
past 12 months and what their highlights were, we weren't short of
responses, here's just a brief selection on what has made their
The young man mentioned above, attended special school all his
life. Enrolling in the Glasgow School of Music will be his first
experience of mainstream education. He's also just started
composing his own orchestral pieces of music - he's
Of course, there was also our 'Making the Future' event in April
which saw several hundred champions of change come together to
renew their personal and collective commitment to the rights of
disabled people and their own lives. Their shared vision was
perhaps best articulated in the words of Gavin Croft who said "I
want a life, not a service".
April's event took place amidst unprecedented and growing
pressure on public finances and evidence of councils 'talking the
talk' on personalisation and self-directed support while walking a
very different walk indeed it also came in the wake of some
influential people expressing genuine doubts about whether
self-directed support could be meaningful or survive at all in such
circumstances. Yet people's abiding mood at the event was to seek
to make hope possible rather than despair convincing.
The presentation from two mothers - Lynne Elwell and Nicola
Dalgarno from Partners in Policymaking was particularly emotive.
They spoke movingly about their experiences as mothers of disabled
children - separated by 40 years - but not by the hopes and dreams
they have had for their children, nor by the many challenges faced.
They quoted the Canadian disability rights activity Judith
"Ultimately our goal can be nothing less than total
transformation of our culture. Only when the most vulnerable of us
is valued and appreciated for his or her gifts will everyone be
safe and supported to be a fulfilled person."
For a reminder of the day watch our slideshow.
This year we also launched Inclusive
Change which brings together In Control, Inclusive
Neighbourhoods, Inclusion North, Community Catalysts and Shared
Lives Plus. Under the banner of 'Inclusive Change' we will be
working together to support people and leaders to have new
conversations which can identify their area's strengths and
resources as well as its needs, and to pursue together the simple
goal of 'good lives in good places' rather than focusing solely on
And in our highlights how could we not mention the Care Act?
Personal budgets being brought into law for the first time is a
huge stride forward, and not just that but the formal guidance from
the Department of Health states that they should be delivered
according to the principles of self-directed support and links to
our 'seven steps'.
Despite all of the challenges of implementing personal budgets
properly which are linked to the continuing power of the
professional gift model and the awful consequences of local
government cuts - there is no going back - people will keep
chipping away to shift the power towards those using public
services and build different, more equal relationships with
professionals to get much better results all round. Enlightened
professionals will join this movement which reflects why they came
to be public servants in the first place.
Another big achievement for the team with regards to legislation
was seeing indicative funding for children, young people and
families get a clear mention in the Code of Practice enabling
families to know how much money is available before setting out the
detail of the support plan.
And how about more than
4,000 people sharing their views and experiences on what's
working and what's not with personal budgets and education health
and care plans across adult social services, health, children's
services and health? This collective voice - which now takes the
national data set for our Personal Outcomes Evaluation Tool (POET)
to more than 8,000 across all sectors creates the largest evidence
base to date on personal budgets and EHC plans giving us, councils,
clinical commissioning groups and others a very clear insight on
where efforts need to be focused in order to improve people's
experiences and outcomes.
We'll be publishing an annual review and forward look in the New
Year, which will also include more detail on the conversations and
ideas captured during Making the Future.