by Martin Routledge
#socialcarefuture is a voluntarily organised initiative aimed at supporting those wishing to share ideas and information and focus action to bring about major positive change in what is currently called "social care". Those involved will be citizens, people using public services and their families, workers and professionals, managers and politicians.
Our focus will not be primarily on resources, though we know social care and the people that use it have been badly damaged by cuts and that this damage needs to be repaired to have any kind of positive future. We are very supportive of those pressuring and negotiating with government to reverse the cuts - many of those involved with #socialcarefuture will be part of such efforts. The role of this initiative, however, is to complement action on resources by taking collective action to bring about major change to what social care does and how it does it. We start from a strong concern that even when the financial situation was better, systems, practices and "services" for disabled and older people and for people with long term health conditions, powerfully reflected their institutional roots and have not substantially changed in decades. They have recently been referred to as "The Invisible Asylum". We are also concerned that the prominent discussions about social care amongst national and local government are stuck on how to "ease the crisis" or provide funding for existing service models, ownership approaches and professional practices. They are limited to who will pay and how, rather than what resources should be used to do. At the same time, in so far as the public is aware of social care, it is something people see as a last resort, for people who are desperate and mostly to be avoided.
#socialcarefuture is for people who don't want us to be stuck here, who want to make a positive contribution to imagining, creating and communicating a future where what we currently call social care makes a major contribution to the health, well-being and self-determination of people and communities and that the public sees as something to be invested in because it is important to them.
Right now, around the country, there are glimpses of this potential future in places, groups, organisations - some very small scale, some bigger - where people are making better things happen and pointing towards how things could be. But these examples are the exception, the minority. Even when better ways of doing things have proven themselves, they often stay small scale with major barriers to growing or extending and strong forces limiting them.
There are three main practical elements:
- Ideas and information sharing, including a blog series, about what much better social care should be and do, how it can do this and what is currently happening that should be built on and grown.
- A gathering, in Manchester on November 14th and 15th 2018, and through virtual means, of people determined to bring about a better future, able to share positive change already happening and prepared to take action with others to accelerate change.
- A year of action (at least) by groups willing to work together and support each other on focussed action for positive change.
You can read the blogs in the #socialcarefuture series here. And consider doing one yourself!
To find out more, or to make a contribution, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org