Ladyman urges workers to ‘say the unthinkable’ for adult services rejig

    Community care minister Stephen Ladyman has called on social
    workers to give him radical ideas for reshaping adult services.

    Giving the first keynote speech at Community Care LIVE
    last week, Ladyman outlined initial plans for creating a vision of
    adult services. The government is consulting the sector and hopes
    to deliver a document by late summer.

    “I’m keen to listen to radical thoughts so don’t be afraid of
    saying the unthinkable,” Ladyman said. “I want to hear your views
    because I’m not a social worker and I don’t know how you see social
    care.”

    He said social workers and managers in adult services might like to
    consider how to overcome the organisational and structural problems
    in providing person-centred services. “But don’t think too long.
    Patience is not my strong point,” he added.

    He also called for social services to continue to explore ways of
    working more closely with health and housing agencies. “Services
    must be seamless. If gaps in services are to be closed, improved
    forms of joined-up planning and service delivery are needed.”

    Ladyman insisted, however, that there were “no signs” of the
    government trying to push the social care workforce towards health.
    “For adult social care, I can see the need for other services such
    as leisure and transport to get involved. But the social care
    workforce is going to have a vital leadership role in that.”

    But David Tombs, of the Social Perspectives Network for modern
    mental health, warned that social workers were losing their
    autonomy and identity and being “swallowed up by the health arena”.

    Jonathan Ellis, health and social care manager at Help the Aged,
    said older people’s services could be improved by professionals
    doing more to help older people cope with the “daily hassles” of
    life in order to prevent mild depression developing into something
    more serious.

    A major study commissioned by the older people’s charity revealed a
    feeling among the client group of being ground down by little, but
    mounting, irritations.

    Ellis said it was important for social care professionals “not to
    dismiss the low-end stuff”.

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