Reaction to the government’s social exclusion strategy
Social exclusion: no quick fixes, warns Mind
Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said:
“It will be in the implementation of this plan that the real test lies. Social exclusion is the result of complex, interwoven factors in people’s lives, and there are no simple solutions to such stubborn problems.
“Today’s announcement is very encouraging, but the evidence of the Government’s commitment will be in funding for the long-term. The Social Exclusion Unit produced a comprehensive report on the impact of mental ill health two years ago, which mapped out the challenges we face. But there hasn’t been the level of action on these issues which we would hope for. These is a long-term plan, but unless it is implemented quickly and effectively there is very little chance of seeing any results for many years.
“We know that people with mental health problems currently on incapacity benefit are often keen to work. But it is far too often the case that, however skilled and enthusiastic they are, their hopes for work are dashed when employers refuse to take them on because of their mental health history. Survey after survey has shown that discrimination against people with a history of mental health problems is widespread in recruitment. It’s positive that the Government has shown a willingness to tackle this, but discrimination exists throughout society and only in challening that can we hope to thoroughly tackle it in recruitment. The Government must urgently fund enhanced anti-stigma programmes. Current funding levels in England for anti-stigma work fall many times below those in Scotland. Beating the discrimination which people with mental health problems face would make a very great difference to their life chances.”
Put social care centre stage in social exclusion drive – GSCC
GSCC Chair, Rodney Brooke, said: “Social exclusion is one of the most pressing problems of the last ten years. The vision outlined in the plan fits with the values, aspirations and strengths of social care.
“Joint working is key to achieving the Government’s vision. Social care has much experience of working with a range of agencies and professions to support people. Social workers and social care workers are expert in helping to facilitate a joined up approach to service provision that benefits services users and the community.
“We have been working very closely with the General Teaching Council (GTC) and the Nursing Midwifery Council (NMC) to further improve the integration of services between professions and inter-professional working is a feature of the social work degree.”
Agencies must work together to tackle social exclusion – Turning Point
Turning Point Chief Executive Lord Victor Adebowale said: “The government has recognised that to tackle social exclusion there must be a focus on people with complex and multiple needs. These people are more likely to be living in poverty and are often distrustful of statutory services which have often failed to meet their needs.
“We believe that the only way to make real, life changing progress in this area is to have truly joined up services so that people do not have to knock on the doors of several agencies to get help. Local communities should be supported to design and deliver services that local people actually want to use.
“The government cannot achieve lasting change on its own. It must work alongside the voluntary sector and – crucially – local communities themselves to develop their capacity to turn their lives around.
“The real challenges are to get agencies to work together to deliver co-ordinated support and to guarantee sustained funding so that the most excluded people are no longer left behind.”
Social care leaders welcome Action Plan for excluded young people and families – ADSS
Directors of care services fully support the government’s drive to provide more preventive services for young people and their families and to nip in the bud more harmful behaviours that might otherwise develop later on.
The only concern ADSS Children and Families Committee co-chair Paul Fallon expressed was over the dangers of stigmatising all children in council care or young parents.
“We know the government will try to avoid this,” he said, “but it is important to remember that many children from so-called `problem families’ do well at school and university, hold down extremely responsible jobs and live happy and fulfilling lives. We are sure ministers will avoid the dangers of labelling everyone a failure in the four groups of social excluded people they have identified.”
Elsewhere he was full of praise for Cabinet Office Secretary of State Hillary Armstrong’s commitment to people with multiple disadvantages and her acknowledgement that there could be no simple, quick fixes in policy or practical terms. Persistence, at national and local level, is what is required, he said.
“It is good to see the government, despite a packed political and policy agenda, concentrating anew on this 2 – 2.5 per cent of the population with whom care directors have been working for many years,” he said.