"Sunshine might be in short supply in Bournemouth next week as delegates gather for the NCAS conference, but a few days by the seaside can be rejuvenating," says Paul Burstow, Chair of the Social Care Institute for Excellence, as he contemplates a busy agenda...
I am looking forward to meeting colleagues, taking part in the discussions about the future of care and support and talking about the work SCIE is doing to support improvement across both children’s and adult social care.
Looked after children and young people's mental wellbeing
On Wednesday 11 October, I am chairing a workshop on supporting the mental health of looked after children and young people, care leavers, those on Special Guardianship Orders and those who are adopted. Young people’s mental health is much more in the spotlight these days. Royal support has helped, so to is increasing political engagement. But the mental health of looked after children has remained in the shadows. We have been running a project (commissioned by the Departments of Health and Education) that is aiming to help change that and improve the emotional wellbeing and mental health support for those in need.
The goal is that in the future, looked after young people will have timely access to high-quality services, which will be based on their specific needs and individual pathways. The final report is out later this month but our workshop - in the Tregonwell seminar suite – will be exploring the issues. I will be joined by the chair of our expert group on this issue, Dame Christine Lenehan, and by Jack Smith, who has experience of being looked-after and has been one of the 100+ young people who have been invaluable to the expert group, making it a truly co-productive endeavour.
Social isolation and loneliness are seldom out of the news these days. There is a perception that these issues only affects people in later life, but the reality is that it can affect people at any age. It is a source of great frustration that everyone in our society has certain skills, knowledge, and gifts that could be greatly beneficial to others, if only issues of isolation and a lack of social connectedness didn’t stop us sharing them.
Harnessing some of this potential is known as taking an asset-based approach, where the emphasis is on people’s and communities’ assets, not just their needs. Our Future of Care report on asset-based approaches suggests a framework for local areas to enable asset-based approaches to thrive. We are running a session on this at NCASC, called ‘Get your asset based approach into gear!’ It’s on Wednesday 11 and is in conjunction with TLAP, NDTI and Shared Lives Plus. Perhaps I will see you there?
We have recently published our latest ‘highlights’ report. This edition is on adult safeguarding. It is a snapshot of safeguarding adults practice, and some of the challenges that exist, informed by SCIE’s work in this area. It also looks at our experience of providing training and consultancy support to care and health providers. I hope that it proves a really popular resource. If you are already signed up with a free SCIE account you can get a pdf copy to print. Although it is not a comprehensive review of safeguarding practice, I hope it provokes further thinking about how to improve safeguarding, and the partnerships that need to develop for that to happen.
Innovation in children’s social care
How do we mobilise learning from new ideas in children’s services so more children, young people and their families can benefit? That is a question SCIE has teamed up with Innovation Unit to answer. The result is a briefing – our fifth Future of Care report. This edition contains some great examples: for instance, in West Berkshire, a restorative practice approach to emotional health and wellbeing has seen a 43% reduction in the tier 3 child and adolescent mental health service waiting list. An inspiring result. Do take a look; I hope it’s a piece of the jigsaw which helps to encourage and spread innovation more widely.
Integration, brokerage and much more
If you are at NCASC but are unable to make our events then do come and see me and colleagues at the SCIE stand (E13).
Have a great conference if you are going, whether you get some Autumn South coast sun or not! And do have a look at our website for more on what we are up to.