Do we need to do personalisation differently?

Two weeks in post as new chair of TLAP's program board and Clenton Farquharson MBE  reflects on what he's hearing and what we're doing. 

I am so pleased to have been appointed chair of the board. I was really touched by the overwhelming messages of support congratulating me on my appointment.

It has had me thinking about how TLAP, under my stewardship and with the collective wisdom of the Partners, help people, organisations and the wider sector, shape the concept of wellbeing, or what I prefer to call “living well for a better life.

As a Partnership it’s personalisation that binds us together and it's personalisation that can give people a better life.

But it's those people who use services, carers, members of the workforce and organisations who have  told me at various events that we need to do personalisation differently. 

My response is that ultimately it's your experience which is the benchmark . There are, however,  lots of inconsistencies based on people’s different connections, curiosities, contradictions, as well as a creative desperation to evolve co-production.

For me, the biggest reminder of how we make sense of it all and keep going with personalisation is the saying off my grandmother -  "if you want to achieve anything in this world, you have to get used to the idea that not everyone will like you". This saying used to make me chuckle as my grandmother was a devoted Jehovah's Witnesses.

No offense intended to Jehovah’s Witnesses.                

All of this is just another way of saying that not everyone likes co-production.After all co-production is a risky method of connecting. It needs to use a shared language, shared values and shared purpose. It draws on our moral principles, it is time consuming, complex, emotionally demanding, intensely unstable, vulnerable to shocks, subject to competing demands and it challenges the status quo. So why am I saying all of this? Because this is what makes it so refreshing and so innovative, and what makes it part of the solution. We have to remember that none of us is smarter than all of us!

Co-production is at the heart of everything TLAP does and the basis of our success.

Co-production informs the values and commitments of each year’s work programme in five important ways:

  • We always make sure the voices of people with lived experience contribute to and influence policy and practice.
  • We use co-production to get all the key influencers round the table: commissioners, providers, standard setters, regulators, people who use services, and carers. The breadth and depth of our knowledge and expertise, supports local, regional and national work.
  • We  act as a catalyst for moving personalisation forward in difficult times.
  • We convene quickly when needed to  help shape policy and implementation.
  • We are committed to improving the way we measure the impact of our activity and will start working with National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and other partners to do this.

Recent examples include responding quickly to a request from the Department of Health to undertake a survey of people’s experience of care and support under the Care Act. We also carried out an extensive process of engagement to agree with 13 national bodies a Shared Commitment for developing an integrated approach to engaging and empowering communities. An indicator of the positive impact of TLAP comes from the evaluation of TLAP events and projects which are consistently highly rated. 

So how can TLAP, with your support, keep co-production and personalisation alive in the current climate of austerity, impending election results, and a sector that  is aligning more  with health?

  • Co-production

Continue to support people who use services and carers to have a real voice in developing and delivering high quality, personalised, community-based care and support and continue to encourage Making it Real.

  • Regional work

Influence change by mapping and supporting regional networks across voluntary and community services, providers, local government, NHS England and wider public sector  to deliver ‘regional TLAPs’.

  • Join up health and social care

Help to co-ordinate care and support across wider public services, and make sure that what has been tried and learned in social care is not lost and influences delivery of the Five Year Forward View.

  •  Building Community Capacity

Engage with and empower communities to help people live well for a better life –This involves building on the work published in the Shared Commitment.

What you can do

If you are interested, there are two practical steps you can take today to keep personalisation alive. Join the Care Markets and Quality Forum and the Building Community Capacity Practitioners  Network – a  place where  innovative models and good practice  are discussed. In the case of the latter, self-management teams such as Wellbeing teams, Community Circles and the use of individual service funds.

I may have written too much in this blog but if you take anything from it, remember this:

  • Ask what matters most to citizens
  • Listen to what matters most to citizens
  • Do what matters most to citizens

If you want to find out more, please get in touch. Send an email to Sara Zmertych, Communications Officer.





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