Developing a new deal between local people, commissioners and providers
Blog by Sharon Allen, Chief Executive Officer Skills for Care
Personalisation is a word used often in discussions about provision of high quality social care.
But when we talk about personalisation, are we all talking about the same thing or do different people mean different things sometimes leading to lack of clarity about what we're trying to achieve?
Perhaps person centred care and support is a clearer articulation of what we want to achieve but whatever terminology we use the critical issue is to have clarity and a shared purpose. This is vital for people who need care and support, their carers but also the people who commission those services and for the people who provide them.
We live in a world where demand for care and support is increasing significantly, so we will need more people to provide services that meet individual need. Yet we are all aware that the resources available to provide this care and support are under extreme pressure.
Personalised services are of particular interest to me in my role as CEO of Skills for Care because we work with more than 20,000 adult social care employers in England to make sure their voice is heard.
The simple fact is that we need a clear view of what personalisation is so that the people who provide services in whatever form, whether through an organisation or as a Personal Assistant for a direct employer can make it happen. I know this from my own experiences as a frontline employer prior to joining Skills for Care.
So I'm pleased to be chairing the National Market Development Forum 'Developing Personalised Services' Task and Finish Group. Our brief is very clear:
'To gather and share learning from across the sector of what full personalised care and support looks like and to explore what works in stimulating innovation and new models of support for the future.'
We wanted to find out what is already happening in transforming services and see how we can use this learning to shape the progression of the personalisation agenda. We are currently digesting the results of a sector wide survey that called for evidence of innovative practice in delivering and commissioning services.
Our initial discussions have been very forthright and robust looking at what a 'new deal' for local people who use services, commissioners and providers might look like.
One thing I think we are all agreed on is that strong and decisive action is needed to develop this 'new deal' between local people, commissioners and providers.
Of course, this concept inevitably brings me back to my other area of interest in my day job - the adult social care workforce in England. As important as supporting employers to get on board is bringing the workforce with us.
Establishing clarity on what personalisation looks like means it follows that commissioners need to use this understanding to make sure the services they commission from employers and their workers reflect the individual needs of the person who use services.
The sector then needs to factor these principles into how workers train throughout their careers to makes sure personalised care is a reality in people's every day lives.
Our work links directly to Think Local, Act Personal's 'Making it Real' markers. The clue is in the name, and will help mark progress towards personalised community based support in different settings.
As others have commented already the most important thing about Making It Real is that they have been co-produced with people who use services and carers.
The 'I' statements at the heart of 'Making It Real' drive my thinking chairing the Task and Finish Group and my work leading Skills for Care. One of those statements really caught my eye.
'I have considerate support delivered by competent people.'
That breathtakingly simple aspiration cuts through layers of complex thinking to a simple truth - that is what we all want when we think about accessing social care.
There is no time to lose in delivering the sort of high quality personalised services we all want to see, which is why we will be publishing a short summary of key messages based on the best of what's happening up and down the country.
That summary will be available through the Think Local, Act Personal website in March/April and I will be back to blog on what we discovered.
The task now is to make that aspiration a day to day reality and I'm pleased to say we have made some progress, but let us be under no illusion that there is much, much more to do.
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