We are just on our way back from an inspiring but exhausting National Children’s and Adults Services Conference (NCASC) in Manchester. Some highlights of the week:
- 15 members of the IMPOWER team at the conference
- 41 sessions (on a wide variety of social care topics) that my colleagues and I captured insight from
- 150 Directors of adults and children’s services and their colleagues attended the IMPOWER annual dinners. I’m delighted our dinners have become known as an institution – several people have already asked if they can reserve a place for next year
- 2 conferences – due to the emergence of Social Care Future as a fringe event to complement the main NCASC conference. I loved the difference in feel between the two – the social care sector needs a real variety of voices and approaches
- 100 + people who visited our stand within the first few hours alone. We were delighted that so many of you wanted to come and see us. And finally…
- 75 (vs 36) – the final vote in our question of the week, which we put to everyone who visited our booth.
Q: How do you feel about the future of adults’ and children’s services?
- 36 voted for ‘CENTRAL GOVERNMENT MUST ACT! (Central government action is the primary solution: without it, demand pressures and shrinking budgets mean things will inevitably get worse)
- 75 voted for ‘SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY! (The sector can seize the opportunity to reframe services away from meeting need and towards achieving better outcomes and improving lives)
For me, the split in answers to this deliberately impossible question summarises the feel of the conference this year. There are clearly big national questions that need answering about the future sustainability of both adults and children’s services. But there is still plenty of room for optimism –those working in social care have a great deal to be proud of, and there is much more in their power that can be done to improve things, despite the challenges.