Getting housing in the picture -Making it Real
Housing has a critical part to play in the personalisation agenda. Being able to live as independently as possible in where you call 'home' is a fundamental part of having meaningful choice and control. As TLAP considers what should be its top priorities for action over the coming years, Sitra would like to ensure the partnership actively engages housing providers and commissioners.
I have spent the last five years as CEO as Sitra, supporting our members to grapple with how to bring personalisation to the housing related support sector. Over the years we have worked through challenges with organisations around how to overcome offering more personalised services where block contracts exist, in direct access provision and in long term older peoples services. We have offered training, festival of ideas, individual capacity building, conferences and events, newsletters, guidance and energy. We have sat on and facilitated government steering groups, supported research, engaged with social care, health and other sector led organisations to get the message home. Throughout these discussions, Sitra and I have remained true to our vision that it was fundamentally right that housing related support should offer personalised services, and that all obstacles were but challenges, ripe to be overcome. That view has not changed, and what has changed, I am pleased to say, is the perspective of commissioners and providers in the sector who can see personalisation in the round.
There have been some fantastic innovators within housing related support, and Sitra has showcased many service user groups, providers and commissioners who have led the way. Sitra also played an active role in the advisory group for Right to Control where Housing related support was also one of the funding streams included in the DWP pilot to aggregate a range of payments to enable people to take greater control of their lives. Over time, there has been a strong realisation that personalisation is not just about personal budgets - and for many organisations there will be some very significant changes that they can make to their services which will support individual users of services take on choice and control.
We think that Making it Real is a critical driver in taking forward this approach, and helping people understand that it is not all about the money. The powerful use of 'I' statements serve as an important reminder that what is delivered is not to serve organisational or commissioner need - it is and should only be provided if it is meeting individuals aspirations and outcomes. That is why I am delighted that Sitra will be working with TLAP over the next few months to further contextualise Making it Real for Housing. We will be working with people who use services, commissioners and providers of housing related support to ensure that this dynamic tool talks to them.
Sitra's national conference will be held on the 20th March 2014 and is themed 'Change Makers' and I would love Sitra and TLAP to be able to cement our strong working relationship by jointly launching this new guide at that event. Save the date - after all - putting a date on something certainly does 'make it real'!!