Personalising Every Encounter from the Ground Up

“It’s about big companies letting go of power & having trust in people, and personalisation could flourish if authorities gave power to individuals & carers” -Participant at the TLAP network meeting

Personalisation does not happen when policies are created or when social workers are allocated or when assessments and reviews are completed. Personalisation happens on a human level – when one person takes the time and trouble to really pay attention to another person, when a person listens without interrupting and opens a space of discovery.

Every conversation is an opportunity to connect and to learn what matters to another person.

Asking what matters most to another person and listening deeply to the answer shows that we are curious, that the life of the person we are listening to is valued.

If personalisation feels faceless almost like a box ticking exercise, it is not worthy of the name and the values that underpin the social model of disability, the care act and the move to responding to what really matters to people. True personalisation means offering support which enhances not damages well-being.

It helps when we see each other as citizens first and users of services or providers of services second.

It helps when we all hold onto a bigger vision for communities which are inclusive.

It helps to assume that we all have gifts to share and alliances in our lives which are unique to us.

True personalisation contributes to the building of community capacity – it is not concerned only with the allocation of services to people, but knows that communities thrive through networks of trust and the giving and receiving of time and attention.

At the TLAP network meeting on the 15 June we made space for this kind of deeper listening; we all took turns to listen and to pay attention.

We thought about what helps us to make progress with personalisation.

Some of thoughts we had:

  • Bravery to say no and let go, empower those closest to people needing support. Example must be set by those at the top/centre.
  • Inviting kindness into the room and viewing through the lens of compassion, empathy and respect.
  • Sharing power – enabling rather than controlling.
  • Working together on an equal footing, bringing together everyone’s skills and knowledge.


We also thought about what is most in the way of more progress with true personalisation:

  • Power and control model of leadership.
  • The bureaucracy of the system makes it incredibly hard to devolve power to people using services/move closer to people being supported.
  • Hierarchical organisations.
  • Replacing kindness, empathy and respect with policies, procedures and IT systems.

We are all citizens and we all have equal worth at a fundamental level. We must hold onto a higher vision for what personalisation really means for us all and start where we live to build capacity one neighbourhood at a time.

Andy Bradley is working with colleagues and allies on creating the conditions for a shift of mindset away from providing services towards building community. Andy makes space for people to grow their self-care and resilience, connections and relationships so that people can really collaborate even when times are tough.

Andy can be reached on 07960 473347



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