TV for all in social care

A new broadband TV service is being launched this week aimed at the social care workforce


It’s not a soap or a shock-horror exposé, but social care is taking a starring role in a series of “TV films” intended to show the realities of the sector. Whether you are a professional, student, carer, service user or just someone who wants to learn more about social care, this new service should have something to help you.

Social Care TV, managed by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (Scie), is a first for the sector. The intention is that the good practice suggestions and discussion points will act as an exciting addition to current good practice materials.

Scie says the audience will range from professionals to managers to workforce and operational staff, to service users and their carers. The first set of 25 films covers eight social care topics from dementia to the children of prisoners. Each film tells a social care story, often from the point of view of people who use services (see Anne Pridmore’s story, below).

Each film forms part of a web page with lots of guidance and advice and e-learning resources. Plus, there’s a clever technical bit that will make “good practice sharing” more efficient because users can watch segments of films by going to a specific point in a film to address a key issue in social care practice.

They can also e-mail that segment, or a whole film, to a colleague. This is an example, says Scie, of new technology making life easier for staff. Also, films are “on demand” so they can be watched in the workplace, the training room or at home.

According to chief executive Julie Jones, it’s a window into the world of the practice material of Scie and other organisations. “The films bring to life what we do every day in our work,” she says.

“The social care workforce is in for a treat. Along with the accompanying care and support information on the web pages, the films are thought-provoking, interesting and full of strong messages about delivering good quality, personalised social care.”

Key players from the social care sector have welcomed the launch. Des Kelly, executive director, National Care Forum, and chair, Care Provider Alliance, says: “Workers in the care sector should really benefit from it. There are many examples of how good practice can bring about positive results in both domiciliary and residential settings.

“What is particularly encouraging is that the films and resources highlight the challenges that staff face and how they can be addressed. The films also show how passionate people are about their work. It’s like a moving advert for a social care career.”

Scie says that Social Care TV isn’t a “how to do social care” TV service. What it does do is act as a training and learning tool that stimulates debate about the big issues in the sector.

Social Care TV is being launched at this week’s National Children’s and Adults’ Services Conference in Harrogate by care services minister Phil Hope. Social Care TV is at


Case study: Will Dixon, film-maker: “Our films were as personal as possible”

Will is a film-maker who was employed by Brook Lapping to create several programmes for Social Care TV, including the one on Anne Pridmore. He’s worked for series such as Channel 4’s Dispatches, and the BBC’s Storyville. Here, he explains what he learned from making the social care film.

“The central theme to the films we made for Social Care TV was personalisation, so we thought it was right that our films were as personal as possible to the people they were about. This meant dispensing with certain TV conventions such as a third-person voiceover, and instead giving authorship to the characters on screen.

“People like Anne Pridmore have been central to the creative process. Basically it’s a genuine account of Anne’s story. I quite rightly had to work hard to win her trust, but she was pleased that I let her tell her story in her own way. No voice-over, no narration. Anne was the author.

“I suppose I was like many others because I didn’t know about social care. I obviously have experience of the NHS and education but had no idea that social care can, for some people, be so confusing. It forced me to think of this huge area of society which I hadn’t had to confront before.

‘The reality is far more complicated than it being people looking after other people. Each film taught me that we may all suddenly need social care. One was with a man in his forties who has multiple sclerosis. It made me realise that that could be me. He controls his care package so we also let him control the direction of his film.

“It’s important for people like me to be forced to confront our thoughts about how people appear. Anne is disabled, but she also has life, ability and a will to take on the system; and it was a real privilege to gain access and to tell her intimate story in the way she wanted to tell it.

“I mean, there I was filming her talking about her sex life. Well, she’s making a very important point which is all about her controlling her life.”


Case study: Anne Pridmore, disability consultant “The film-maker let me say whatever I wanted”

I am the subject of a Social Care TV film. It’s a “week in the life of me”. And what a life. I have cerebral palsy. That doesn’t disable me; it’s society that disables me. At some point 20 years ago I stopped feeling guilty about it and started campaigning on disability issues.

My marriage broke up and I had to start using services. Again, that made me disabled, for the first time in my life. I suddenly had no choice about all sorts of things like what time I got up in the morning. I wanted to swap the services for cash so that I could hire my own personal assistants.

“Now I have PA’s like Wendy who are excellent. She uses her initiative; it’s not just about someone feeding and cleaning you. She knows that it takes a certain type of personality to be an excellent personal assistant.

I really appreciated that filmmaker Will Dixon let me say whatever I wanted. Will showed empathy and respect. Not bad for someone who doesn’t work in social care. He edited it just as I would have edited it.

“The following example was kept in the film, and thank goodness, otherwise it would have been one of those classic, medical-model, “triumph-over-adversity” shockers.

Let’s talk about sex. Traditional services don’t want to, because they often think that disabled people are asexual. They also need to be more personalised.

“If a worker has been due to arrive at nine in the morning because that’s “the time that they are booked in”, I’ve been known to hang a notice on the door: “Man in house”. That saw them off. These days my care needs are attended to in a more flexible way, giving me control over my life.

“The film made me realise how far I’ve come since 1984. It’s been a long journey and the first few years at least were very hard. But the film makes me proud of my achievements and I just hope that it attracts the right kind of passionate people into working in social care.”

This article is published in the 22 October iissue of Community Care magazine under the heading “Bringing our work to life”

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