Innovate! The watchword of the wise
Nothing stays the same. The future is uncertain. It is sometimes said that society is built on castles of sand. And those sands are constantly moving. It is against this backdrop that we need to think critically about the future of care and support.
Care and support is "not fit for the 21st century" . That is Government's observation and the bottom line is that we cannot keep doing what we always have. At least, not with the current policy and funding priorities attached to social care. These factors, coupled with demographic trends and shifts in society, mean that if we continue 'as is' we will likely see reduced services and poorer quality.
We need a radical transformation in how care and support is delivered in ways that are fit for purpose and sustainable for the future. Jon Glasby recently described this as turning the welfare state on its head.
The need to challenge established ways of thinking about care, health and wellbeing has never been more important. In doing so, it will take us into a space that may feel uncomfortable. But this process is necessary if we are to develop innovative and original solutions for the future. Critical to this is the TLAP partnership and the strength of its ties.
What do we need to do?
We need a broad social policy to recognise care, health, housing and wider community services all on a level playing field. The principles spelt out in the Care Bill , including the tenet of well being, provide the prompt to think differently. This will involve ensuring wellbeing is strengthened within current services, as well as building capability and capacity across an increasingly diverse workforce.
We need to unlock the potential of disruptive innovation. This requires investment in both people using and providing care and support from across local communities, providers and commissioners. We need to invest in innovation to learn from others and to think differently. So too we need to make room for some mistakes and to learn from them along the way.
We need to look in the small places for good practice. We can explore how other countries and cultures are addressing care and support needs and then think through what that could mean for all of us.
So my message is somewhat Darwinian in nature; we must continue to adapt and change. TLAP can provide the space to:
- Think differently - by questioning we can redefine current challenges and innovate
- Share, engage and connect - to make individual examples of innovations work locally and to share the very best examples of good practice
- Enable community leadership through co-production - to challenge the status quo, inspire trust and take the long view.
Rhidian tweets as @rhidianhughes and has written this blog in a personal capacity.