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NCAS 2015: Community led social work devolves choice, control and power

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Three years ago People2People embarked on a journey to change the way adult social work is delivered in Shropshire. Looking ahead to their participation in this year's conference Jenny Pits, programme lead for community led social work, explains how operating as a community led social enterprise makes it possible to provide swift, responsive services and a greater focus on connecting people to community resources.

NCAS session 9.00am Thursday 15 October: Jenny Pitts will be joined by David Brindle, Guardian Public Services editor and NDTi board chair, colleagues from People2People and Shropshire Council to discuss their work
NCAS session 9.00am Thursday 15 October: Jenny Pitts will be joined by David Brindle, Guardian Public Services editor and NDTi board chair, colleagues from People2People and Shropshire Council to discuss their work

People2People now delivers most community based adult social work and occupational therapy in the area, resulting in improved outcomes for local people, a more motivated staff team and significant efficiencies for the council.

Our experience shows that it is possible to redesign processes and change the culture of practice. Social workers are encouraged to have ‘different conversations’ to capture information about what really matters to the person and their family.

The emphasis is on preventative support through information, advice and face to face discussions where needed, which mostly take place in familiar community settings.

Traditional service solutions are only considered once natural and community supports have been exhausted.

p2p croppedCommunity-led social work is made possible by the Care Act which allows local authorities to delegate social work functions and develop alternatives to traditional delivery models. We believe community-led voluntary organisations delivering social work could be transformative, enabling a culture shift to person-centred, outcomes-focused practice, as well as financial savings.

NDTi is now working with three more areas to develop their own locally tailored models based on our learning in Shropshire and we are inviting further expressions of interest.


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  1. Comment by Gordon Pomfret posted on

    A glossary of acronyms would be very helpful for the lay reader such as myself;

    e.g. what does NDTi stand for?

    • Replies to Gordon Pomfret>

      Comment by Mark Osterloh posted on

      Our apologies Gordon - the full name was lost in the edit! The weblink embedded in the text takes you to the site where it is written out in full but we should have done the same in the blog post. NDTi stands for National Development Team for inclusion
      Editor - Social Care News

  2. Comment by SJ posted on

    Could DH be spokespeople for Government ideology perhaps?
    My experience, as a worker in frontline care, is that delegating (outsourcing) social work for the care of the most vulnerable people is leading to a reduction in their care. The Care Act can work for the more able-disabled/those who have Mental Capacity/good advocates, but not for all. Government reductions in funding, increasing numbers of staff on zero-hours, truncated shifts, vital communication increasingly fragmented, personalisation agenda being used to withdraw people from accessing 'traditional services' away from their residence tho' they offer vital respite and safeguarding (other eyes on deck), CQC no longer able to inspect 'Supported Living', Local Authority monitoring and reviewing outsourced care decreasing... Preventative support and enablement is crucial, but what about those whose disablement can only increase, and where community-led voluntary organisations are overloaded or don't exist?

    • Replies to SJ>

      Comment by Jenny Pitts posted on

      Thank you for your comments. You raise some very valid issues around reductions in funding and the challenges faced by social workers on a daily basis. With regards to community-led social work, our experience at People2People is that this approach does work well for people with high support needs. The programme is based around person-centred thinking which means people get the right support for their individual needs. Because they have more resources available in the community for those with less complex needs and more control over how they manage their work, social workers can focus their time and energy on those with more complex support needs.

  3. Comment by Mark Osterloh posted on

    And a general point to note for this and all our posts: the Social Care News blog is as much about the sector speaking to the sector as it is sharing departmental policy updates. In this respect, the blog editors and contributors are not DH spokespeople but reporting and encouraging discussion on the health and care issues of the day as well as providing information on current and future initiatives.