Information overload for social care?

I have been impressed and, to be honest slightly overwhelmed, by the number of new personalisation and social care publications launched at the Children and Adult Services Conference 2011 last week. Excellent information and case studies but I do wonder who will have the opportunity to read, digest and act upon all of the many conclusions and recommendations. My starting point for this post was helpfully provided by Jackie Rafferty asking the question “what support do I need to live as independently as possible?

One of the key publications for me is the Think Local Act Personal Partnership (TLAP) “Making it Real: New citizen-led approach for councils, organisations and people to check progress with personalisation and community-based support” This provides a set of statements from people who use services and carers which set out what they would expect, see and experience if personalisation is working well in an organisation. The markers will help organisations involved in commissioning and delivering care and support- from councils to providers of in-home, residential or nursing care – to look at their current practice, identify areas that need improvement and develop plans for change.

In early 2012, everyone involved in care and support will be able to go to the TLAP website to declare their commitment to use Making it Real as a way of showing they are committed to personalisation and be awarded the TLAP logo. An approach to assess the quality of an organisations declaration and use of a TLAP logo is currently being tested. There will also be a nationally-led citizen survey which will allow citizens to feedback on an organisations progress against the markers. The Care Quality Commission are undertaking a mapping exercise to see how the markers fit with relevant essential standards of safety and quality.

How will progress be evaluated – what are the Key Themes and Criteria?

1) Information and Advice: having the information I need, when I need it

2) Active and supportive communities: keeping friends, family and place

3) Flexible integrated care and support: my support, my own way

4) Workforce: my support staff

5) Risk enablement: feeling in control and safe

6) Personal budgets and self-funding: my money

My recent report ‘The future for personalisation? service users, carers & digital engagement’ produced in collaboration with The Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services highlighted the many charities and social enterprises who are using social media channels to provide innovative responses to the need for social care information and support. In contrast there is a real need for managers and leaders within public service organisations to develop and extend the empowerment of front-line staff, to support their engagement with people and communities.

It does occur to me that it would be useful to have some benchmarks now to share current good practice and social innovation in social care. “The marketplace for social care good and services is likely to continue evolve as the online marketplaces mature, as the mainstream providers players extend their offering and as service users continue to exploit the opportunities for networking afforded by social media. Because of its inherent decentralised, or bottom-up, nature, social media may offer the key to sustainability.”

The support that each person requires to live independently is unique and can be provided in many different ways. I believe our biggest challenge is connecting people, ideas and knowledge across the whole of the care sector to make a reality of person-centred care. And as a matter of urgency we need to simplfy and demystify the language of social care!

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2 responses to “Information overload for social care?

  1. Making It Real looks like a really welcome piece of work by TLAP. I’m reading it with great interest.

    • I agree and I would like to see organisations putting themselves forward now as examples of good practice in the six areas as a benchmark. I think that the citizen survey in 2012 will produce some fascinating responses.

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