In these strange times, could Covid-19 help us make a leap of faith?

In these strange times it’s easy to lose one’s faith that we’ll come through this pandemic. One thing that has helped me is the realisation that there are a lot of creative people working within social care with energy, drive and a real desire to create a better future for people.  We call it a ‘coalition of the willing’.

For too long, social care has been fire-fighting. It is an undervalued Cinderella service compared to the National Health Service. Lack of funding, compounded by overly rigid approaches to commissioning and provision has stifled creativity and innovation. Too often we still talk in terms of what services are needed, rather than the support people want to live a good life. However, not all have been stuck in traditional approaches to care and support and many during the Covid-19 pandemic have taken a leap of faith.

What do I mean by a leap of faith?

To me, it means that we should act on what we believe to be right, without always having a complete boxed set of evidence.

I saw this happening a few years ago in Thurrock when the council was setting up Local Area Coordination by establishing community hubs in the most deprived parts of the borough.

Those leading this development within the council wanted to create a resource with opportunities for the residents who require some assistance to lead their lives, but aren’t eligible for social care.

This involved leadership based on listening to people and partnership working: co-production in other words. Further developments were based on learning and collecting evidence.

Sometimes, therefore, it is not about simply replicating what has been developed elsewhere but doing the right thing with and for people locally. I’ve seen it reap benefits and it doesn’t have to cost more. As some leading social workers have written, “people want love, hope and relationships.”[1] It’s not complex, so don’t let the system make it complex!

What does adult social care do now?

The experience of responding to Covid-19 offers some golden opportunities for change. We at Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) are excited to be working in collaboration with local authorities and voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations to gather stories of promise in adult social care .

These stories showcase the multitude of ways in which organisations, people and communities have adapted with responsive and creative solutions to supporting people during the pandemic. All the examples have been shared with TLAP’s National Co-Production Advisory Group. The directory gives you a digestible snapshot of:

  • Why and practice is changing across our sector
  • The benefits and impact in relation to people’s lives
  • Aspects of the changes that are sustainable

We have seen many organisations respond positively to the challenges posed by Covid-19, so let’s make sure we don’t lose sight of what has been achieved. Look out for our tweets and resources over the next few weeks. We all need to continue to do the right thing for people, so take that leap!

[1] Elaine James, Rob Mitchell and Hannah Morgan (2019) Social Work, Cats and Rocket Science


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