Planning in social care – why?
Planning in social care – why would we be questioning that?
After all we’re good at planning in social care aren’t we? We’ve got plans coming out of our ears!
If I’m honest I’m not at all sure about ‘person centred planning’ I’ve seen this go wrong a lot of times, illustrated by this scene in the Heavy Load movie at Michael’s review meeting.
I’ve seen too many support staff work in ways that do not put people at the centre of their lives and maintain a power imbalance that makes it impossible for them to live in the way that they really want. But that’s not what I’m writing about today.
The other reason I’m not sure about ‘person centred plans’ is that I don’t live me life to much of a plan, looking back at the things I’ve done so far I’ve not been aware of a long-term plan to make any of this stuff happen, it’s been much more organic and opportunistic than that. However, we’re working on developing the Stay Up Late campaign and so I’ve written a plan! Here it is…
We’ve started to up the activity around our campaigning work running workshops at provider forums and other events and have come up with a plan for the next 3 years for how we’re going to run things.
As Carl von Clausewitz knew though it is highly unlikely that we’re going to stick to this plan, but it gives us somewhere to start – and as we always say “keep it punk” – meaning we ought to do something and just get started with it.
Gathering info – year 1
Year 1 is going to be all about researching the current state of things to try and understand what is going on and why these blocks exist in the system and prevent people with learning disabilities from leading great lives.
The kinds of activity that we’ll be getting up to around this is:
- Running a short survey to find out the current state of things
- Running workshops in provider forums to delve a little deeper and start discussions
- Speaking at events
- Publishing blogs reflecting on what we’re finding out
- Hold round table discussions about what can be done and who we need to influence
- Using the findings to try and widen the discussion through social media
We’re also wanting to develop our network of campaigners, as a small charity (employing 4 people), and me only working on this 2 days a week, there is only so much we can do. However, I see this as a strength, we’ll have a much greater impact if we can create a large network of like-minded campaigners all round the country. So the planned activity around this is:
- To find out how people are currently campaigning in their areas
- Encourage campaigners to recruit colleagues, friends and contacts in to joining our work (we want to double our email subscribers in a year!)
- Get some of these campaigners together for a mini-conference/planning day
- Publish Stay Up Late’s manifesto for change
Gather evidence of good practice
We’re determined to try and keep our campaigning work as positive as possible, there’s no point in us saying how poor the quality of life is for a lot of people with learning disabilities if we can’t present some solutions.
The good news is that we know there’s also loads of great support providers out there doing fantastic work and we’re aiming to meet up with some of these to interview them and share what they do.
We’ve already started this process through developing our pop-up campaign stands and will be asking more club nights to get involved in this work as its an easy way to identify great support providers – talk to the staff who do Stay Up Late at events!
Start a petition
I can’t go on Facebook these days without seeing a petition about one thing or another but it does seem that we need to do something like this to start building support. Just look at the work the Justice for LB campaign has done and how they’re making steady progress towards a better future for people with learning disabilities. So the plan is that we’ll create online petition calling on all support for people with learning disabilities to be accessed in the evening and not restricted by inflexible rotas.
Sharing good practice
We’ll start sharing some of our findings through our website (which will get a bit of a re-fresh) to enable us to share videos and blogs about good practice and the impact its having.
We’ll also be using the website to share campaigning tools that groups have developed around the country to make changes locally.
We’ll also be able to create more resources together at our mini-conference event.
Building a network of campaigners
I’ve already mentioned that we want to do this but one big question for us is how do we reach out to frontline support workers? These are the people, along with their managers, who are key to making change happen but there is no professional body that represents them. Also typically they don’t have work emails and therefore it’s hard to reach them through traditional means.
So specifically we’ll develop a social media plan to reach out to support staff.
Actively campaigning – year 2
Year 2 is going to be all about putting our findings in to action and the activity we’re planning around this is:
- Deliver campaigning training sessions
- Get out to groups talking about our work
- Regular blogging about activity and findings
- Developing the online toolkit of campaigning resources
- Developing an online body of evidence showing how people are providing flexible support
- Mapping campaigning activities through an interactive map on our website
- Delivering our own campaigning activities
- Using conferences like Learning Disability Today to develop awareness and create more activity.
Year 3 – imagining the way forward
This is a 3 year funded project by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and we sincerely believe that we can make some change by then, otherwise we wouldn’t have started this project. So in the final year we’ll be:
- Reviewing the work so far
- Staging a bigger conference event
- Drawing together all our findings and hopefully advertising the changes we’ve collectively made as a network of campaigners
- Publishing a final project report
So that’s the plan but as that Prussian General Carl von Clausewitz knew, it won’t happen like that. Looking back at the way we used to approach Heavy Load gigs we had that attitude too. We always knew what song we’d start with, and what one we’d finish with but absolutely anything could happen in the middle!
I’ll leave it to Voltaire to explain why we won’t mind if we don’t stick exactly to this plan!
Thinking about it Jimmy’s (Heavy Load’s guitarist and singer) catch-phrase was “I’ve got a plan” and he never actually revealed what that was either!