Making It Personal : Individualised Social Services
Mike Wardle, chief executive of the General Social Care Council, on how social workers must respond to the increasing trend for individualised services
The government has announced it intends to introduce personalisation into delivering social care. The idea is to move away from providers offering services and expecting people to be satisfied with what is on offer, to one where people are supported to build a package of services that meets their individual needs.
The concept of individualised services is fully in line with the values of social work and social care. Good social work has always involved helping people find their own solutions to their situations, letting them find ways to achieve the things they want in their communities. Social work takes account of people’s needs holistically, rather than focusing on a particular condition or delivering a defined service.
A shift towards individualised services allows social workers the opportunity to regain their focus on relationship-based work with individual people. The General Social Care Council’s recent paper defining the roles and tasks of social work recognises social workers’ desire to spend more of their time in face-to-face work and helping people to achieve their full potential.
Part of this role is to support people in arranging and managing their own care. Another part will be to ensure that people’s unspoken needs are brought to the fore so that people can be ambitious in managing their independence and their engagement in society.
But the impact of personalisation is not just on social workers – it will be felt across the entire social care workforce.
New roles will emerge as more people who use services decide what they require and who they employ to meet their needs. People providing social care services will need to be confident and competent in co-producing services with those who require support and their families.
This last issue is key. The intention is that people who use services are real partners in defining the care which meets their needs, rather than passive recipients of what is on offer.
The General Social Care Council is starting to explore the implications of this change for the whole social care workforce of the future and for our role as the workforce regulator. Our aim is to produce the right framework for a high-quality social work and social care workforce that can provide support and security and place power in the hands of those whose lives will be affected.
To achieve this, we need everyone in the social care workforce to support them in living the values that brought them into social care. This way, I believe we have the opportunity to transform people’s lives.
· The General Social Care Council’s annual conference takes place today. Making Social Care Work looks at the major reforms in social care and impact on the workforce