Imelda Redmond – making social care reform a reality

Recent years have seen the adult social care sector inundated with reports, commissions, consultations etc on the issues it faces and how it needs to evolve to be fit for purpose, both now and in the future.

We’ve seen a Green Paper; a Big Care Debate; a Vision; a Law Commission; the Dilnot Commission; to name but a few. There is no doubt that we know the direction of travel. We know much of what needs to change. We know where we want the sector to be. But we don’t yet know how, in practice, we are actually going to make that change happen and what should be done first.

This engagement exercise aims to help bridge that gap and move us to the next stage of reform, from rhetoric to reality. And it won’t be easy. The sector already faces tough times ahead. Within  these difficult constraints we need to develop a strong sense of priorities, taking into account what will have the greatest impact alongside what is achievable and affordable.

Without a doubt, difficult decisions will have to be made. The sector and those it supports need to have a strong say in where we go from here. It must be a shared ambition for care, not simply the Government’s ambition for care. This is why I and my fellow discussion leaders have stepped forward to help the Government lead the debate on what the priorities for reform should be and to bring forward ideas from the experts (the sector and care users) on how those priorities can best be achieved.

I am leading the Quality theme, which is looking at the priorities for increasing quality and developing the future workforce. Colleagues from a range of organisations with a key interest in quality, standards and the workforce have joined me in this theme to form a reference group. We will provide key findings to ministers mid-November, publishing a summary of what we have heard so far to help shape the ongoing discussions. We are keen to explore, with as wide a range of interests as possible, the priorities for quality and workforce, in essence: what great care looks like; how it can be achieved; what the levers and incentives are; and who should be responsible for doing what.

Over the next few weeks we will be out and about at events and using our own networks to get feedback and particular seeking out new ideas for how in practice we might go forward with reform. Many of us will be at the National Children and Adults Services Conference (NCAS 19-21 October) and will be actively engaging with delegates throughout the conference.

It is my intention to be clear with ministers how we move forward, not just warm words. Those who know me will expect that of me and that is what I aim to do. In turn I need people contributing in a way that helps us move forward, bringing genuinely new ideas to the table not simply ‘re-inventing the wheel’ and being prepared to engage in difficult conversations around what actions matter most so that we can prioritise these in financially difficult times.

I am delighted to see so many of you  so many of you engaging in the debate on the this website and I read your comments with interest.

Watch this blogspace over the coming weeks as I feedback on emerging themes and ideas around quality and workforce.

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