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

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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