Keep focused on genuine personalisation
Having been there from the start of Think Local Act Personal I am really pleased that the partnership has established itself as a strong voice and practical force, standing up for and supporting personalisation.
I also agree that now is the time for development of the original partnership agreement to reflect what has happened since we put the first manifesto together. For me it will be especially important to build the well-being and community elements of the agreement. TLAP is currently starting work with Health and Well-Being Boards to develop it's framework for building stronger communities within which older and disabled people can be fully included and contributing, while reducing some people's need to rely on acute and long term health and social care. I think this will become an increasingly central part of TLAP's work.
It is very important though, that TLAP maintain, as a core focus, standing up for authenticity in personalisation - shining a light on the real and pointing up where delivery is falling short. As the letter prompting the recent Personalisation Summit states:
"Research and experience are increasingly showing us what works to really improve outcomes and extend choice and control. The problem is that in too many places these things are not being done. For example, in respect of personal budgets, we too often find unsuitable systems for resource allocation, burdensome support planning approaches not controlled by people themselves, rigid rules on spend, social workers not trusted to make judgements, people left without information advice and advocacy, under-developed markets and restrictive preferred provider lists. There are the places where, in the name of controlling spend, more money is spent, sometimes through unnecessary process, sometimes through not allowing creative use of budgets."
TLAP must be a positive force in this situation supporting councils and their partners in an incredibly difficult resource position to be self-aware about local delivery and to learn from best practice. TLAP can also demonstrate how co-production can be a key part of the solution to improved delivery. We must stay focussed on the person and the family in community.
This is nowhere more important than in the integration agenda. TLAP is very well positioned to provide practical help to the Pioneers and advise government and others, showing how, as Norman Lamb says "People are the best integrators of their own care and support" including through health and social care personal budgets. We must make sure that integration is not something simply done to people via more joined up budgets, systems and professionals but means real collaboration between professionals and people and where people can, if they choose, exercise direct control over resources.
From where I stand I am confident that TLAP will continue to play the key role it has established over the past two and half years and I will support it however I can into its future.