Community Care Mission Statement Results

In a sector like social care, there are so many worthy causes in need of extra funding, a higher profile, and political attention. A month ago, we asked readers of Community Care and visitors to to prioritise these for us so we would know where to devote more of our attention in 2007.

Votes have been received from across the sector, and from service-users and practitioners alike, and a clear top five issues have now emerged from our original short-list:

1) Better justice and protection for vulnerable adults

“Unless you can provide justice for the most vulnerable members of society, you can’t say we have got justice at all”  Kathryn Stone (pictured), chief executive, Voice UK

Taking poll position in our list of major issues affecting social workers and service users today is the need for better justice and protection for vulnerable adults.

Community Care commits to:

  • Calling for adult protection to be placed on the same statutory footing as child protection.
  • Exposing bad practice and promoting good practice among police forces and the Crown Prosecution Service in relation to the treatment of people with disabilities or mental health needs as witnesses/victims.
  • Pushing for a strengthening of the No Secrets guidance on multi-agency working to protect vulnerable adults from abuse.
  • Monitoring adult deaths.
  • Exposing bad practice and promoting good practice in relation to the treatment of families and carers pursuing an abuse allegation on behalf of a vulnerable adult.
  • Spreading good practice in relation to ensuring people with learning disabilities know their rights and know how to report a crime.

2) A better deal for carers

“Professionals are starting to seeing carers as partners rather than another client group. If you don’t work with them, you don’t have a solution” Imelda Redmond (pictured) chief executive, Carers UK

Second on the list of priorities is a better deal for the estimated six million carers who provide the vast majority of social care across the UK every day.

Community Care commits to:

  • Keeping practitioners informed about the strategy review and facilitating practitioner involvement in the consultation process.
  • Pushing for the full and timely implementation of all aspects of the “new deal for carers”.
  • Calling for a cabinet-level champion for carers in England (as in Wales).
  • Campaigning to improve welfare benefits and respite care provision.
  • Fighting for an increase to the carers’ allowance and for a statutory carers’ allowance for over 65s regardless of their state pension entitlement.
  • Campaigning for carers’ leads and carers’ development workers to fall within the remit of the adult social care workforce strategy body Skills for Care.

3) Older people to be treated with dignity

“Dignity and respect for the individual ought to be at the heart of the way we care for older people, but all too often services fall short of achieving this” Paul Cann, Director of Policy, Help the Aged

Community Care commits to:

  • Exposing poor practice and promoting good practice in relation to treating older people with dignity in care settings and their own homes.
  • Promoting good practice in relation to designing services around individuals.
  • Campaigning for an improvement in older people’s diets and mealtime experiences in care settings.
  • Monitoring the progress of care providers and commissioners against the “Dignity Challenge”, set by the DH as part of its Dignity in Care campaign.
  • Promoting use of the Social Care Institute for Excellence’s practice guide 9 on Dignity in Care.

4) Choice, support and independence for children with disabilities

“More needs to be done to deliver the Every Child Matters outcomes for disabled children, both in terms of specialist support and fair access to universal service ” Steve Broach, campaign manager, Every Disabled Child Matters campaign

At number four is the hot topic of children with disabilities and, more specifically, the need to deliver on their entitlement to choice, support and independence.

Community Care commits to:

  • Monitoring the children’s centres and extended schools agendas to ensure they are delivering for disabled children at a local level.
  • Supporting local authorities as they prepare to implement new duties around child care for disabled children under the Childcare Act 2006.
  • Encouraging local authorities to sign up to the EDCM campaign charter on providing a range of services for disabled children and their families by January 2008 and addressing the needs of disabled children in their strategic planning and local area agreements.
  • Campaigning for the key elements of the Early Support programme (key workers, multi-agency working, and better information provision) to be transferred to services for young disabled people in transition.
  • Exposing poor practice and promoting good practice in relation to making mainstream services accessible to disabled children.
  • Exposing councils closing special schools despite local demand.

5) Recognition of the importance of the well-being and preventive agendas in social care

“The best prevention is really, really good mainstream services. But embedded in some of this mainstream provision there needs to be sufficient provision to deal with high needs and more complex needs early” Hugh Thornbery, director of children’s services, NCH

The fifth major issue affecting the social work profession and those who use social services is the need to recognise the importance of the well-being and preventive agendas in social care.

Community Care commits to:

  • Campaigning for children’s centres to be properly resourced so they can offer families with additional problems extra support early on.
  • Supporting evidence-based practice on promoting well-being.
  • Campaigning for greater investment in child and adolescent mental health services.
  • Promoting use of the arts in different aspects of social care as a vehicle for building service-user confidence and self-esteem.
  • Exposing examples of well-being and preventive services being scrapped when budgets are tight.

The full rankings were:

  1. Better justice and protection for vulnerable adults
  2. A better deal for carers
  3. Older people to be treated with dignity
  4. Choice, support and independence for children with disabilities
  5. Recognition of the importance of the well-being and preventive agendas in social care
  6. Increased choice and power for vulnerable adults
  7. Fair treatment of people with mental health problems
  8. Domestic violence treated as a core social work issue, in recognition of its prevalence and its role as a key indicator of child abuse
  9. Fair treatment of asylum seekers
  10. Improved educational opportunities and aspirations for young people in care
  11. Fair treatment of the third sector
  12. A better deal for care leavers
  13. The retention of the generic approach to social work
  14. Fair treatment of young offenders
  15. Improved joint working between local authorities and health bodies
  16. Suitable opportunities and support for career progression in social work
  17. Antisocial behaviour orders used sparingly and appropriately



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