What's next for Think Local Act Personal (TLAP)?

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At Think Local Act Personal (TLAP) we work to ensure that everybody can access the care and support they need to be able to live well and do the things that matter to them. 

System-wide change happens in partnership, not alone. That is why we operate as a network, bringing together people who draw on care and support with a coalition of organisations involved in shaping and delivering it. This coalition includes central and local government, social care, National Health Service (NHS), and the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector (VCSE). 

By directly connecting lived experience insight with those designing and delivering care and support, health and social care can be better informed, more effective, and more responsive to the needs of those draw upon it. We do this in collaboration with the National Co-production Advisory Group (NCAG) and other people with diverse lived experience perspectives.

Our 2023-25 work plan outlines the ways we will harness lived experience to deliver change. It defines our workstreams, and the tangible offers that will help stimulate cross-sector improvement. And all of it is guided by a mandate for change directly from people who themselves want to draw on care and support to live their life the way they want. To thrive, not merely survive. 

Our compass 

We have a record of pioneering co-production in policymaking and promoting the principles of choice, control, and independence. We played a vital role in enshrining the wellbeing principle and self-directed support into law with the 2014 Care Act, and, more recently, worked alongside the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) on the Social Care Reform White Paper, 'People at the Heart of Care' 2021.

Behind all this sits Making It Real – our approach to improving care and support. Making It Real centres around a series of statements that describe what good care and support looks like, which we developed in co-production with people who draw on or who work within care and support.  

It acts as a compass which guides all our work, and work we contribute to. 

But Making It Real is not just something we use for ourselves. Since its creation, it has also acted as a compass to guide government reforms and transformation as well as commissioning and care and support models too. It has been recognised as being anchored firmly in the personal aspirations of those who draw on care and support themselves, and as such providing a meaningful way to connect lived experience to government policy, Care Quality Commission (CQC) assurance, system change, improvement and innovation.

A golden thread for reform 

We want to use the application of Making It Real as a route to implementing reform across the system. Therefore, our strategy needs to go beyond describing what ‘good’ looks like, to playing a fundamental role in Making It Happen and Making It Stick as a new normal: 

Making It Real

Working with national and local government, NHS, and our partners, we focus thinking, collaboration, and action around Making It Real for a shared commitment to increasing choice, control and independence across policy, care and support delivery, and assurance.

Making It Happen

We understand, amplify, and support practical steps and shifts required for reform. We help create the platforms, networks, and relationships for change with people with lived experience, professionals with learned experience and organisations with the power and influence to implement reform. 

Making It Stick

We create space to focus on leadership, system transformation and culture change required to embed reforms within a new standard of personalised care and support for all. 

Our 7 workstream themes in 2023-2025

1. Assurance: Making It Real provides a mandate for what good care and support looks like, developed by people with lived experience. This workstream focuses on embedding Making It Real principles within health and social care. This will include working with partners such as CQC to develop new I and We statements for the theme “well-led” and apply Making It Real successfully within their new framework.

We will also launch a new Making It Real online hub, to improve access to information, support and stories that help people apply Making It Real in their own work and organisations.

2. Choice and control: People need to have agency over the care and support they draw upon, so that it supports them in living the life they want to live. This workstream focuses on promoting established methods of enabling people to self-direct their support, including direct payments, Individual Service Funds, integrated personal health budgets, and personal assistants, and working across the partnership to make them work better for people. 

3. Innovation: We will explore new ways to improve care and support, whilst we promote existing examples of community-based, personalised support that have potential to work well at a bigger scale. This workstream aims to stimulate wider uptake of innovative ideas, so they can create a bigger impact. A new Rainbow Network is being established, and an innovation hub is being launched.  

4. Leadership and workforce: For personalisation to truly happen in care and support, we need to see changes in cultures, practices, and mindsets. People must start to think, react and act differently at every level. Leadership underpins all of these, and this workstream will focus on this by connecting leaders, hosting events to reflect and learn, and providing direct support to organisations involved in delivering health and social care.  

Work on co-producing care workforce values from the perspective of people who draw on care and support, and the development of new Making It Real I and We statements on “well-led” will be prioritised this year. 

5. Data, digital and tech-enabled care: The voice of people who draw upon care and support must be prioritised within the development of social care digital and technological products, ethics, and approaches. Through this workstream, we will work with key stakeholders, such as Tech Action Alliance, which we help to co-chair, to guide developments in tech-enabled living, ensuring that lived experience is there to establish the best and most ethical ways forward. 

6. Equity: Personalised care and support only happens when it truly reflects what matters to people as individuals. This means that care and support must be as diverse as the people who draw upon it. Our equity workstream will pro-actively seek to increase the diversity of our partnership, as well as exploring ways to tackle inequalities across health and social care by building on the combined insights of people who draw on or work within care and support. 

7. Co-production: Co-production is the key to unlocking better outcomes for people who draw on care and support, and yet is still not consistently done to a high standard. Over the coming year, we will continue to promote, support, and evolve co-production in practice across the system. This work will include creating new learning resources, promoting best practice through events and an online hub, delivering direct support to organisations, and providing support to government and partners.