Charlotte Black is Service Director (Adults and Safeguarding) for Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council
I was really pleased to be asked to join colleagues from Bradford Council and IMPOWER to co-present a session at ADASS Summer Virtual Conference called ‘How to deliver good adult social care – despite Covid’.
I particularly valued the opportunity to hear about the work of another local authority in another region and see the differences and similarities in our approach. In fact, there were many more similarities than differences. I particularly liked Bradford’s ‘small budgets’ initiative, which gives frontline staff the freedom to provide practical, ad hoc support to clients. I have taken the idea back to my team to discuss how it might fit with our own work on strengths-based practice.
One of the questions asked by a participant at the end of the session was around co-production, and has given me cause for reflection about how we hear from the people we have supported remotely through the pandemic. We need to know how they have actually felt about the support they received before we reach any firm conclusions about whether we could build it into our operational model in a more explicit way.
I asked my team the following week for their reflections on the event. Many commented on the value of hearing from ‘experts by experience’. Whilst appreciating the relative ease and flexibility of accessing the event, they did miss the informal contact and chats that take place between sessions, over dinner and in the lunch queue. Nonetheless, well done to ADASS for organising the Seminar as a virtual event. It provided a much-needed window for reflection and learning after what have been some of the most challenging months of my working life.