Connected, Collaborative Care: People Who Use Social Care Must Be At The Heart Of Our Digital Developments
Digital solutions are no substitute for face-to-face support, but their contribution must be considered when developing support services, not least because they offer an opportunity for disabled people to have more control over their lives.
What's needed is to grow the size of the sector, by design increasing the number of homes for some needs, so that members of each sub-group meeting specifically identified needs can contribute asking the same questions, wrestling with the same issues, and worrying about the same things as you are, so that they feel a little less isolated and a little more recognised.
Sir Martin Narey's review is an opportunity to stop "doing what we've always done". It's an opportunity to be the best parents we can be for the children who we take into our care system. Being the best we can be means setting aside differences we may have with our co-parents, and allocating appropriate funding to the task of looking after the child as a priority.
Professionally we grew up, our children's services and child care theory and practice developed, in times of plenty, and by extension, of certainty. We never dreamed we would one day dread the implications of a world where plenty and certainty were not present.
After the Prime Minister's speech to the Conservative Party conference Looked After Children are now, truly, Children in Care, in the care of all of us. To name the scandal of the social exclusion of Children in Care was a brave and necessary thing.
The way the public sector procures what it wants has been changing in recent times, and this looks set to continue. And this will affect organisations across the board, from charities to local authority commissioners.
How much funding do you think charitable hospices get from the NHS and local authorities? It often surprises people to know that hospices for adults receive on average only around a third of their income from statutory sources, while children's hospices receive on average 17%.
Last month's Budget suggested that George Osborne has softened on the overall spending squeeze by the end of the next Parliament, but he still indicated more cuts for local government over the next few years. And things would be unlikely to be significantly easier should the General Election lead to a government of a different colour.
Though it was not our past more recently England has concretised individualised, responses to social problems. None more so than the 'split off' way children's homes have been discussed with an attendant burgeoning policy framework that sees them as almost another country.
Local authorities are facing an unprecedented squeeze on their finances. The 'Graph of Doom' that illustrates how councils will have no money to spend by 2020 have become familiar. Local government, as we know it, cannot survive in its current form.