When the previous government published the Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat In February 2014, Viral Kantaria was in the privileged position of working in the Private Office of the then Minister of State for Care and Support. During this time, he witnessed its development from a set of disparate, complex problems to a symbol of shared ambition and appetite for collective change. On the eve of NCAS 2015, he reflects on the progress made and looks forward to an engaging conference session...
Fast forward 18 months and we have all come a long way, with over 90 local plans in place spanning England setting out how local partners will work together to effect tangible, genuine improvements to the way services work and the experiences of people who rely on them.
Since I joined the policy team a little over a year ago, it has been inspiring to have the opportunity to get to know some truly exceptional leaders across public sector and voluntary services at both national and local levels – from police constables and mental health social workers, to alcohol care nurses and carers of people with mental health problems; from people with lived experience of crises who are directly and positively contributing to the design and implementation of new models of care and support, to locally-elected political figures such as Police & Crime Commissioners and councillors scrutinising and championing their Concordat plans.
For me, the real value of the Concordat lies in its ability to bring people together. I often remind myself that public services exist to serve those who need them, and that identifying areas for collaboration to ensure that vulnerable people who need them feel safe, supported and understood should be our ongoing mission. Local government and social services can play such a vital role in seizing these opportunities, providing strategic vision and joining up crisis care initiatives with existing local policy priorities around vulnerable adults and children.
This session (Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat: what can local government do to enhance mental health crisis care? Wednesday October 14 12.30 - 1.15pm, Tregonwell Seminar Suite) will highlight some of the initiatives and innovations emerging under the auspices of the Concordat, and how a particular focus on person-centred care is transforming experiences and outcomes for local services and the people who use them.