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Sarah Hart

‘Invaluable’: IMPOWER’s 5th Shared Learning Event on adult social care

IMPOWER recently held its fifth Shared Learning Event on adult social care, this time focussing on the subject of transitions between children’s and adult services. It brought together 22 people, including representatives from 13 different local authorities, to share their experiences on this issue and to think collaboratively about solutions to the challenges they face day-to-day.

The three priority challenges were identified as:

  • The current ‘hours’ or output-focussed approach to commissioning, and the need to shift this to a focus on outcomes that will support independence;
  • Siloed working between adult and children’s services leading to poor preparation for adult life and a disjointed experience for families;
  • Lack of supported employment options for young people with SEND.

In afternoon workshop sessions, attendees were asked to consider how they would address these three challenges, and came up with a range of ideas and initiatives structured around the approach set out in our recent report; 5 Fast-Forwards for Social Care.

Some of the highlights from the day’s presentations and discussions are summarised below:

  • Phil Di Leo, previously Head of Additional Needs and Disabilities at Haringey Council and now an Associate for IMPOWER, emphasised the importance of providing high quality training to enable staff to better inform and support families, who have often lost trust in the system after years of ‘poor information and red tape’.
  • Alice Davies Avery and Tracey Judge from Bristol City Council talked about how they have followed up on diagnostic work completed with IMPOWER to transform how they manage transitions with the help of a new Transitions Team co-located with adult services, and to co-design new supported living accommodation with a group of young people.
  • David Fry demonstrated Brain in Hand’s self-management tool which provides on-demand support that can be installed on a mobile phone and supports users to make decisions, remember individual coping strategies and request help quickly and easily. He also talked about the importance of getting the user-group and support infrastructure right when implementing Technology Enabled Care (TEC) solutions such as this.
  • William Britton demonstrated AutonoMe’s app which supports greater independence by providing users with simple instructional videos, enabling them to complete tasks within their homes.

IMPOWER’s Ralph Cook also shared how our EDGEWORK approach is helping councils to look beyond what they can control to what they can influence, in order to tackle the very issues outlined above. Preparing young people for adult life and supporting them through transition requires thinking beyond traditional service boundaries, reframing ambition and managing interfaces not only between children’s and adults’ but also between actor including social care, health, education and housing services.

Discussions on the day suggested that local authorities are ready and willing to do just this, and I was excited to hear attendees talking about examples of innovative practice happening in their areas in response to many of the challenges discussed. The event demonstrated how local authorities are continuing to seize the opportunity to reframe services towards achieving better outcomes and improving lives. It is also clear that it is invaluable for those in the sector to have opportunities to share experiences, both good and bad, and continue to learn from each other.

If you’d like to be part of our next Shared Learning Event, please do get in touch.

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