New Year’s resolutions from social care’s great and good

Visit more art galleries… work less… research a book on Keir Hardie… smile more… These are just some of the New Year’s resolutions from social care’s leading figures. Read on for more…

Ray Jones, ex-chair of the British Association of Social Workers and a former director of social services in Wiltshire:

To remember and tell people about the link between rationing and the impact on service users and on practice, with rationing to be even more severe in 2008… and also, less seriously, to stop blaming the referee when my rugby team is playing badly. Both rationing and rugby have an emotional impact, but one erodes and eats away at life, and is an encompassing and everyday experience, while the other can be enervating, enriching and an escape, but is just a game.


Bob Reitemeier, chief executive of The Children’s Society:

My 2008 New Year’s resolutions are about appreciating people and life in general. Simple things like looking up and around me when I am walking, rather than at my feet. Avoiding one-word, monosyllable grunt answers such as, “fine” to questions like, “How was your day?” Remembering that smiling is contagious.


Bob Holman, author and voluntary neighbourhood worker in Glasgow:

The council now comes to cut our grass, a sign that I am very old. So my New Year’s resolution is, before it is too late, to research a book on Keir Hardie (1856-1915). Hardie believed that working class people, not the leaders of middle class voluntary societies, should negotiate their own improvements. Despite numerous offers of money and position, he refused to be sucked into the establishment. He lived modestly and never lost contact with those in poverty. Social care needs a few Keir Hardies.


Peter Beresford, professor of social policy at Brunel University, chair of Shaping Our Lives, the national service-user controlled organisation and network, and a user of mental health services:

We live in a weird world. We are all meant to worship work. People are working longer and longer hours and taking on more and more jobs. Getting people into employment has become a preoccupation of governments. Yet we know that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy that the work-life balance is generally getting worse. We may live in a multi-faith society, but the Protestant work ethic still dominates. Unfortunately it also seems to have been wired into me. So for the sake of my mental health and to reduce my carbon footprint, my New Year’s resolution is to work a bit less and reflect a bit more. Hopefully this will also mean more cappuccinos and fewer sleepless nights!


Lord Victor Adebowale, chief executive, Turning Point:

One thing I’d really like to push for in 2008 is more commitment to shaping social care services around people’s complex needs. I don’t want to lose the momentum in this next year because there is increasingly broad support across the political spectrum for public service reform, which encourages public services that are targeted at the greatest need, delivered in a coherent way, and responsive to users’ views and experiences. I also want to get fit enough to do 12 rounds with my boxing bag.


Dame Denise Platt, chair, Commission for Social Care Inspection:

All of us at the Commission for Social Care Inspection resolve to try and ensure that the interests of people who use services have paramount consideration in all dealings of the new care commission. And I resolve to get to know London’s art galleries better!


Andy Rickell, executive director at Scope:

I want to persuade the UK government to tackle the issue of communication aids. Communication is a basic human right – denying people the right to speak is denying people the right to make everyday but important choices. Not only should the government assess the level of need of people with communication impairments but it also needs to provide more funding for communication aids. In 2008, I would like to see the government acknowledge a legal right to communication equipment for those who need it and provide appropriate support throughout a person’s life.


Scope, national disability organisation:

In 2008, Scope wants to build on its human rights campaign and continue to lobby the UK government that it should ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, without any reservations. This would mean the government wouldn’t be exempt from any parts of the Convention. By ratifying a convention, a country accepts its legal obligations under the treaty and will adopt implementing legislation. This is essential to achieve equality for all disabled people and ensure that their rights are guaranteed everywhere. This Convention is just one of the ways in which we can change society’s perception of disabled people.

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