Why do I care?

We talk a lot about the importance of people who need care and support having choice and control over how that support is provided.  This is a crucially important principle for me because it is the bedrock of ensuring that disabled and older people in our communities are able to make decisions about their lives.  Being serious about people having choice means, of course, that communities need to provide a range of options – we don’t sign up to Henry Ford’s oft quoted offer of choice when introducing his new model of car “you can have any colour you like so long as it’s black!”

Exploring how citizens, commissioners and providers working together can create diverse and high quality options for people at a local level is at the heart of the Care Markets & Quality forum; sharing ideas, learning and practice.  This is why I’m so pleased to be the co-chair with my colleague Bill Davidson from NCAG.  We can’t honestly yet say that everyone is able to exercise full choice.  Working together through this forum we can continue to promote and support developing a wider range of options for people in our communities and importantly for me as CEO of Skills for Care, ensuring a skilled, knowledgeable and caring workforce.

Why come to the Forum?

The purpose of the forum is to stimulate activity throughout England so citizens who need care and support have real choice because they have a range of high-quality, person-centred options.

Under the Care Act, Councils have a duty to ensure local provision provides this choice, and the CMQF provides a place for citizens, commissioners and providers of support to discuss, share, challenge and learn about new ideas and think about how the learning can be applied.

What do we talk about?

We share latest policy documents and guides that in our experience are making a difference:

  • Quality Matters, the cross-sector commitment to making sure that all care is great care.

“The Care Markets & Quality Forum has really challenged my thinking with a positive knock on effect of encouraging creativity & innovation. So much more that I can’t fit it in! – my first event with yourselves. Thought it was fantastic – thank you!”

As co-chair of the Care Markets & Quality Forum this is the kind of feedback I’m delighted to receive.

Four provider models worth knowing about

We’ve discussed others, these were some highlights from last time we met.


This co-operative brings together a range of local people and organisations, and is leading to better lives for local people.

2. Community Catalysts‘It takes a village’

This model delivers savings and is being independently evaluated so that we know what works and why. By linking local people in rural communities with people who need care and support, people are supported to maintain their independence and workers are empowered by being in control of how they work.

3. Sense

The national disability charity takes an asset-based focus on the arts, encourages creative communities and connections as part of people’s wellbeing. This has led to the development of a new multi-purpose venue. Jonathan Monk, Head of Quality told us all about it.

4.Individual Service Funds (ISFs)

Speaker Simon Duffy, founder & Director of the Centre of Welfare Reform challenged us about what’s important and how ISFs can make a difference– “Lives are about love, citizenship and freedom, and not settling for ‘ordinary’

All the presentations from the day are available here.

If you want to find out more about other models, come to our next event on  Thursday 22nd February, where we will be focusing on how residential and nursing care can provide community-based, high-quality and person-centred care.  Book here.


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