Directors’ docility in face of cuts
I was saddened when Steve Rogowski’s wrote that the National Children and Adult Services Conference was in danger of being an expensive jolly (Frontline Focus, 4 November, www.communitycare.co.uk/ncas-concerns). As an assistant director in children’s social care I found it to be a place that for two days I could talk to peers about how to protect services, support social workers to take back their profession and hear evidence of what works.
I was equally saddened (and maybe just a little angry) to hear the deafening silence at the conference from the leadership of the two directors’ associations about the impact of the cuts. To be told by the presidents to “face facts”, “cease opportunities” and face up to “radical reform” and for them not to have mentioned, even in passing, the political leadership of the Department for Education, the very real concern about the impact on prevention and early intervention, was a real mistake. We have to be able to look up to our leaders now as never before as a group of experienced practitioners who will speak up assertively to defend what we know works. Sadly not at this conference.
Head of children’s social care, Reading Borough Council
Peer support is vital to personalisation
Key to higher take-up and more creative use of personal budgets is peer-based support, yet local authorities appear not to recognise the value of resourcing local groups of service users and carers, especially Centres of Independent Living to provide this (“Picking up the Pace,” 28 October).
Learning of others’ experiences helps convince service users of the value of personal budgets. They can benefit from a variety of peer support mechanisms, including a peer support group network, a peer mentoring scheme or one-to-one advice. When councils realise this more people will be willing to move to self-directed support.
Clare Evans MBE
Chair, Wiltshire Centre for Independent Living