My practice

I find that the care sector often undervalues or misunderstands the
work of the housing support sector. Nevertheless, I also find a
thirst for good practice and a desire for finding ways to knit
together diverse services to add value, choice and opportunity to
vulnerable, older adults.

We at Epic Trust find that the General Social Care Council codes of
practice are instrumental in bringing these sectors together. While
the code is mandatory in a care setting, many support groups are
seeing the benefits and good practice of working to a unified set
of expectations.

Using the same language in partnership working helps common
understanding and creates joined-up thinking and co-working. I also
find that our charitable care and support activity dovetails with
health and social care colleagues when we can use common language
and work towards common goals.

Furthermore, the managers at Epic make the connections with
partners and stakeholders that allow the strategic relevance of our
work to match that of others and empowers co-working or the
complementary “added value” links to innovative or pilot projects
and services.

I find that working across service, primary care trust and local
authority boundaries requires a common language to benefit the
exchange of information to the commissioners, regulators,
providers, practitioners and colleagues so that service users can
see seamless services and benefit hugely from the “with one voice”
approach that prevents people being shunted from one organisation
to another.

A good example of this is the work of the London Borough of Camden
with its older people’s signposting project. This brings together
statutory and voluntary services to create a mechanism whereby
front-line staff can direct citizens to a network of providers.
Social services, PCT, housing and supporting people teams also
foster co-working, which encourages an environment of sharing
whereby agencies meet, recognise mutual goals and create links and
remove obstacles.

The older people sector is also offering one-stop access to
services. To make this work professionals will have to work
efficiently and assist with information exchange for the benefit of
service users. Of course, the council older people’s champion is an
essential stakeholder who at least should be on the service mailing

Supporting People and information centres can act as exchanges
between services. Through this support, workers are ideally suited
to connect people with services as part of their support contract.
These should be to empower, include and encourage community
participation, and to inform in a way that enables choice.

Meic Phillips is assistant director of Epic Trust, a care
and support provider in London

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