Coming together; staying apart
Clenton Farquharson, Chair of TLAP, has a message for the sector.
For everyone in the country, these last few weeks have been a whirlwind of change, of uncertainty and of re-writing all the rules. As Chair of Think Local Act Personal, a disabled person myself, and living with a family member working on the front line, it’s been overwhelming at times. Coping with our own feelings and family pressures whilst trying to keep on top of the bigger picture is a big ask – but I think it’s ok to acknowledge our feelings and be authentic in our responses to the new world we find ourselves in.
What TLAP does well is to try to ensure that all the voices are heard. Not just the commissioners and the providers in the system, but also people who need care and support to live an ordinary life. Through the National Co-production Advisory Group and our TLAP partners, we want to be able to represent people with lived experience to ensure that their voices are listened to and their questions are answered. So we’ve been working really closely with the government to highlight the gaps in information, to press for guidance, for clarity and for reassurance.
Emergency legislation calls for pragmatic solutions to manage a significant increase in demand alongside a reduction in the workforce. We strive to walk that fine line between challenging poor responses from local authorities and supporting the national effort to work together. We don’t want to see our hard-won efforts over the last ten years in promoting personalisation and co-production swept away. In particular we are working on clear guidance and parity for direct payment recipients and those employing personal assistants in calling for the same access to support and PPE as others working in the care sector.
Along with everyone else, we’re working from home but very much up and running. We want to support the TLAP partnership and our sector in raising the voice of social care. We will keep the wider TLAP community involved and informed through sharing the stories and experience of those we work with and those we champion. We will safeguard the principles around personalisation and make sure the voices of people with lived experience continue to be heard. Please keep reading the news and blogs on our website and contribute to the conversations.
There is no playbook for this situation. But there is hope. We’re moving so quickly in changing the processes and systems that have seemed immoveable for so long, and I believe this offers real opportunities in the future. Whilst we are staying apart in the physical sense I genuinely believe that we can come together for good with compassion and kindness towards each other.