It's social care Jim, but not as we know it!
A gathering of people who want to build a positive future for
what we currently call social care took place on 14th & 15th
An amazing gathering of over 300 people took place in
Manchester, coinciding with the National Children and Adult Social
Care (NCASC) conference, organised by the volunteers through
#socialcarefuture initiative (see socialcarefuture.blog).
This is a developing network of people discovering, sharing and
building from glimpses of the future. Places, groups and people
who, right now are building a future where public services, people
and communities are jointly finding better ways to include, serve
and support local people. They are making "pieces of the jigsaw"
for a positive future including using all local resources, shifting
control to people and communities, building non-institutional
approaches to support and growing human sized, community led,
organisations. They are developing different, more equal
relationships between professionals & people supported and
promoting professional autonomy and self-management so that workers
can have non-controlling, non-bureaucratic relationships with the
people they support. We want to build a future where these
things are much more supported by the wider public and politicians
because they make sense to people and are seen as relevant to
everyone's well-being and success.
- At the gathering there were active contributors. People came
who want to be part of this future and are committed to playing a
part in building it by sharing, learning and organising. They
included local citizens, professionals, politicians, managers,
providers of support, user and family led groups.
- There were a range of ways helping learning and sharing - what
people have done, what difference has it made, what lessons have
been learned, what helped, what the next steps are, what would help
these happen? As well as structured sessions there were
"open-space" sessions responding to people's interests.
- The gathering was energising and social as well as informative
and action-focussed. Below is a link to presentations from the
- There were opportunities for people with similar interests or
energised by things they have heard and discussed, to plan for
action after the gathering. #socialcarefuture will offer whatever
help it can to support these action groups with links and contacts
and communication over the following year. The gathering
deliberately ran to coincide with the National Adults and
Children's Social Care Conference which took place nearby at the
same time. There were good links and some joint sessions and chance
to bring together all voices with a stake in the future to find
ways of working to make it a reality.
Two days of impacting topics and sessions
The two days were full of opportunities to take part in lots of
sessions the full list, details and presentation slides are
available below, but some of the sessions included:
Glimpses of the future in the toughest of
times - Working with SCIE, Nesta, In Control,
Shared Lives Plus and Think Local Act Personal who brought in
learning from six localities around the country. These are places
were able to share exciting "glimpses of the future" where
significant shifts are being made to share power with people and
communities, use all local resources and build better approaches to
support that are human sized and shaped. Some of the places are
under the most severe resource pressures but system leaders,
politicians, community and voluntary groups, local citizens shared
the pieces of the #socialcarefuture they are putting in place and
seeking ideas about new pieces.
Building a social movement
- We shared learning from other movements for social
change from around the world about how we can act together to make
faster change towards the #socialcarefuture.
Closing the Care Act Rhetoric-Reality Gap - There
was a practical session of sharing and learning about how people
can get the support they need and the lives they want. Including:
using the law, getting great staff, choosing how you manage the
money, planning for a good life, co-production in action, knowing
your rights, effective local tactics and more. Helping build this
network of local user and family led organisations, community
groups, charity branches and others - networking for mutual support
and bringing in useful national expertise and help.
Providers for a better local future - Sharing the
best ideas and planning for action about how organisations
providing support can be real assets in the communities they serve.
Including using their capacity and expertise to support local
community groups, assisting small community businesses and
Unleashing the power of community enterprise and
business - How we can grow human sized and shaped support
organisations that add to communities. Alternatives like user -led
organisations, co-operatives, mutuals, community business,
self-managed teams, micro enterprises. We heard about initiatives
that can help make this change happen.
Social work in the #socialcarefuture
- We explored the role of social work in our desired future.
What should social work do? How do relationships between social
work, citizens and communities need to develop? How can we make
this future? The Principal Social Workers Network shared ideas and
plan with citizens and we heard of examples of how social workers
in some places are being liberated…to be social workers.
Researching a better future - What
kinds of research can support a positive future? Colleagues from
Disability Rights UK working with DRILL (Disability Research on
Independent Living) and the School for Social Care Research got
together to talk about planning its next five years of work. What
should be researched to help build a better future for social care?
Who should play what roles?
Shaping a better future with older people who need
long term support - The focus was on alternatives
to institutional options and more traditional models, including
housing options. The session was run in way that allowed older
people and others to consider ideas and models and identify
Ears against loneliness - We had a fantastic
performance from the Jonny Barlow theatre company and students from
the Pennine Care Health & wellbeing college. Ears against
loneliness is a social movement tackling loneliness and isolation,
learning from people's direct experiences.
Escaping the Invisible Asylum - We experienced
the world premier of a new musical theatre piece developed and
performed by MiXiT inspired by Alex Fox's recent book and the core
themes of #socialcarefuture.
Living Well Alliance A better future for mental
health support? - Lambeth shared an example of a
new approach they are using to try to build a proper partnerships.
The session brought together the partners - people using the
support of the Alliance, the support providers, CCG and social care
directors to tell the story so far of the Living Well Alliance
A great evening of networking and
socialising - There was an evening of food, music,
fun and friendship at the end of the first day where we were
thoroughly entertained by the talented MIXit folk and a performance
from the wonderful Dance Syndrome.
Bringing it All Together - At the
end of the second day the two gatherings NCASC18 and
#socialcarefuture came together at Manchester Central giving us
chance to share our vision for the future and what we plan to do to
make it real - and invite the local managers and politicians from
around the country to partners with us and, to coin a phrase - Make
For more information see socialcarefutureevents