Conference Focuses On Delivering Positive Outcomes For People

Social Care services should focus on meeting the needs and aspirations of local people rather than agencies being preoccupied with internal processes and ticking boxes was the clear message at a conference held at Lancaster University recently. The social care conference, entitled “Delivering Positive Outcomes”, was organised and hosted by Lancashire County Council to give health and social care staff across the North West the opportunity to hear from key thinkers and share good practice and innovation across adult social care.

Opening the one-day conference Richard Jones, executive director of Adult and Community Services at Lancashire County Council, said:

“The purpose of the event is for staff and partner agencies to come together to share information, share ideas, broaden our thinking and discuss how we as social care professionals can develop and improve our services that deliver more positive outcomes and experiences for local people.

“Sometimes we as agencies are guilty of becoming far too preoccupied with internal structures, values and processes. Values are important but we must be clear about achieving real outcomes for people who use our services. We must continue to explore how agencies can make a real difference to people’s lives, and deliver what matters to them; rather than exclusively focusing on delivering the services on which the Commission for Social Care Inspection measures our performance.

“We must shift our thinking and focus on developing joined-up services that can be measured in terms of how people can access support services that meets their needs so they are able to lead fulfilling lives and live independently as valued members of the community whatever their circumstances.”  

The event, attended by over 200 delegates including senior managers from social services, health services and voluntary organisations, was also an opportunity to discuss and assess implications for social care services following the publication of the Government’s White Paper, “Our Health, Our Care, Our Say,” published in February.

The event involved keynote speakers including: Alan Jefferson, North West regional director from the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI), Paul Richardson, project manager Vision for Adult Social Care at the Department of Health, and Dave Repper, director of Care Services Improvement Partnership.

Alan Jefferson, North West regional director at CSCI suggested agencies should shift from a position where universal services are developed in terms of leading people and one size fits all, towards opportunities where people are able to lead in the development of services tailored to suit their needs.

He said: “In the future the emphasis must be on developing services that fit people rather than expecting people to fit into inflexible services.  We must concentrate on putting people back into the centre of care services.”

A series of workshop seminars were also held during the day focusing on various social care themes. The seminars provided the opportunity for delegates to discuss and expand on the theme of the conference, ‘delivering positive outcomes’, by sharing areas of best practice relevant to adult social care and the implications of the White Paper.

A key feature of the event was a presentation by Natalie Vranges, a service user with a learning disability who receives support from the Council. Natalie talked about her positive experiences and how the support she receives from her social worker has helped her find a flat and live independently in Morecambe.

Lancashire County Council works with partner agencies and voluntary organisations, people who use its services and carers to provide a wide range of social care services for over 38,300 adults across the county.  

Over 11,500 new people receive care and support from Lancashire County Council every year to help them live independently in their local communities.