Cozens calls for statutory duty on councils to develop communities

Social care must place more emphasis on communities rather than the
individual, the president of the Association of Directors of Social
Services said last week.

Andrew Cozens proposed a new statutory duty on councils “to work
with others for the well-being of their communities”.

He was speaking at a conference in Birmingham on the social care
role in regeneration.

He called for a “looser, central government approach to outcomes”
to allow local innovation, adding that he “regretted” that central
funding had often bypassed social services departments and local

Allan Bowman, head of programmes at the government’s Neighbourhood
Renewal Unit, told the conference that community involvement was
essential if the gap between the most deprived people in the
country and everyone else was to be narrowed.

He said involvement was impossible without engaging social services
departments, although he understood the pressures that social care
staff faced.

“There are major changes in the way social services are being
delivered in this country and we have to be sympathetic to their
managing that change at the same time as we are asking them to pick
up and run with our agenda,” he said.

Bowman added that it was not right that a person could die 12 years
earlier simply because of where they lived.

He said a central aim of the neighbourhood renewal national
strategy action plan, launched in January 2001, was that people
should not be disadvantaged by where they lived, but added that the
plan was “not a sprint”.

“If you want to make serious and significant changes it’s going to
take time. You may have to wait more than 20 years to see real and
lasting effect of your investment now.”

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