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Reflections from ADASS Spring Seminar

Deborah Crossan

Last week, the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) held their annual Spring Seminar. The three days brought together leaders from across the sector to say thank you to outgoing President Beverley Tarka, welcome new President Melanie Williams, share innovation in the sector and to connect.

This year’s Spring Seminar felt different, with a greater focus on what the sector can do rather than retelling well-known financial challenges. It was clear from both the Minister of State for Social Care and Shadow Minister that new money will not be coming unless the sector can help to further build the case for investment and articulate the impact of this investment. There was particular interest in prevention and supporting people in the community rather than hospitals. There was a big focus on artificial intelligence but also recognition that what you wrap around implementing AI and digital is essential to maximising its potential impact. The conversation on co-production has also moved forward with attendees challenged to consider how a greater diversity of voices could be heard.

Melanie Williams set out her three priorities for the year, and reaffirmed commitment to deliver on Time to act: a roadmap to reform care and support in England. Her priorities included references to:

  1. Reclaiming pride for what we do across a diverse range of care and support
  2. Social justice and equality – with a particular focus on ‘enabling people to live with the same freedoms and human rights that everyone deserves to expect in their life’
  3. Ensuring special educational needs and disabilities reforms ‘strengthen the systems which support young people to prepare for adulthood’

We are very pleased that preparing for adulthood is a joint priority for Melanie Williams and Andy Smith, President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS). Many local authorities we work with have highlighted preparing for adulthood as an area in need of improvement both from a delivering better outcomes perspective for people who draw on care and support, and supporting councils’ financial positions. IMPOWER is working with a range of local authorities on this challenge and has developed the Valuing Good Lives approach to support a better understanding of a person’s needs, strengths and aspirations, identify how well a provider/family/carer can support the individual, in addition to gaining a better understanding of costs.

At the Spring Seminar, IMPOWER Delivery Director, Alex Fox OBE, and Martin Samuels, Executive Director of Adult Care and Community Wellbeing atLincolnshire County Council and ADASS Trustee, presented the work taking place in Lincolnshire, utilising the Valuing Good Lives approach. Martin commented that the approach ‘will have a life changing impact on a number of young adults’. He also highlighted that staff have reported that the approach ‘makes my life better’, as they are now able to better articulate to colleagues and partners what care and support should be put in place. The approach is set to also inform strategic commissioning.

If you would like to hear more about IMPOWER’s work in adult social care, mental health, hospital discharge and out of hospital innovation, please get in touch.

Written by

Deborah Crossan

Delivery Director, IMPOWER

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