Messages from the frontline. Report from SCIE’s Roundtable event on leadership and the Care Act.

16 April 2015

I don’t want you to use your leadership and power to manage people, resources and properties. I want you to use your leadership to make good things happen, and to stop bad things from happening.

Larry Gardiner, member of SCIE Co-production Network and resident of sheltered housing

Care Act leadership needs to be about co-production, not command and control. Leaders should be willing to take risks, and to step back and share their power with people who use services. They shouldn’t simply consult on how decisions are taken.

That’s one of the conclusions that came out of a recent roundtable event, hosted by the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE). Valuable contributions came from people who use services and carers, who had a chance to give their views on leadership, and how this needs to change if the Care Act is to improve people’s lives. A report, detailing the conversations and suggestions made, is published today by SCIE.

The roundtable event concluded that leaders need to be good at achieving strategic and cultural change. Delegates felt that it is good leadership that makes the difference to people’s lives – not just developments like pooled budgets or better IT systems.

The Care Act is the most ambitious set of reforms to care and support services since Beveridge Report (1946), and will require skilled, resilient and committed leadership at all levels of the health and social care system. This roundtable explored the kind of leadership we need to make the Care Act a success.

SCIE’s Chair, Lord Michael Bichard, says:

This was a fascinating event because it explored how leadership needs to change if the ambitions of the Care Act are to be delivered. We need, for example, to move from a leadership model, where people think that their organisation is the only thing that matters, to a leadership model that understands the importance of wider outcomes – and in particular the outcomes for people who use our services. Leaders need to be prepared to cede some power to users and to realise that their primary task is to make good things happen.

Here are three of the key themes that emerged:

  • Leaders need to be authentic about who they are and the values they hold
  • Leaders need to know when to 'step back'. Leadership is about co-production, not command and control
  • Leaders need to realise that, in order to improve outcomes, learning will have to take place across the whole system.

The roundtable event brought together key players in care and support, including people who use services, carers, commissioners, workforce development leads, care providers and policy makers.

Notes to editors

In February and March 2015, SCIE arranged a series of roundtable discussions exploring how to improve care and support at a time of growing demand, demographic change and financial constraint.

These sessions covered:

  • Community-led care and support
  • Leading the Care Act
  • Health and Wellbeing Board (jointly with The King’s Fund)
  • Social care and technology (jointly with the Department of Health)

SCIE is publishing reports from each session on its website.

Related projects

SCIE has also worked on the Better Care Fund implementation support programme which aims to help areas to overcome the barriers to the successful implementation of the Better Care Fund plans across England in 2015/16. One of the guides produced through the programme focuses on How to lead and manage Better Care.

Links for this press release

Media Contact

Steve Palmer, Press and Public Affairs Manager
Tel: 020 7766 7419 | Mob: 07739 458 192 | Email: steve.palmer@scie.org.uk