Our strategy can help communities unlock their potential

Featured article - 03 December 2020
By Kathryn Smith, Chief Executive, Social Care Institute for Excellence

Kathryn Smith, Chief Executive, Social Care Institute for Excellence

It’s so interesting that today’s slogan for International Day of People with Disabilities is: “Nothing about us without us”. That same slogan has been used during our Co-production Week for the last few years. Co-production sees people who use services and carers being at the heart of the decisions that are being made about care and support services.

And we’re very happy to support the International Day of People with Disabilities by launching our strategy today. SCIE's role must be to challenge the structural inequalities in our society as it relates to social care. It is no longer sufficient nor appropriate to rely on platitudes or statements of intent when addressing the question of inequality in our society. We’re doing this by looking at three areas:

  • Driving improvements in social care locally
  • Supporting better safeguarding everywhere
  • Influencing better policy and practice nationally

You might think that working up a strategy document is the least interesting thing in my in-tray but, having started as Chief Executive at SCIE as the first stage of the pandemic was at its height, it’s so important. Look at Covid-19 and its impact: It’s been so harmful to the sector and has highlighted the inequalities that exist in society; and those inequalities have been amplified. But we also need to look to the future and tap into the great potential that the pandemic has revealed within communities.

Driving improvements in social care locally

We’ve seen so much going on in local communities during the Covid-19 crisis, but it’s something that we’re always keen to encourage. Within communities, we have seen a willingness to become part of mutual aid and support networks; the steadfast professionalism and commitment of the social care workforce throughout the crisis; and the capacity for many organisations to innovate, moving their entire operations online or developing totally new services in the face of enormous challenges.

Influencing better policy and practice nationally

We believe in a positive, co-produced vision of social care which exemplifies how social care can support people to live good lives in their local communities. So, we say in our strategy that we will work as a partner and critical friend to government, responding independently and intelligently to new government policy, supporting and advising on a range of national policy programmes, initiatives, and influencing guidance and practice.

Supporting better safeguarding everywhere

Across different sectors, there is an increasing level of challenge being experienced with regard to safeguarding. As we come out of the second lockdown, it is more important than ever that we are supporting organisations and individuals to keep people safe. SCIE has a national reputation for excellence in safeguarding knowledge and practice, and this year we intend to work with more organisation than ever, including many more charities, to help them build safe organisations, and safer communities.

Our vision, as spelt out in our strategy, is a society where care and support maximises people's choices, removes social inequality, and enables people to live fulfilling, safe and healthy lives. I’m sure that chimes with the International Day of People with Disabilities. And it’s all about co-production. We look forward to working with everyone over the next few years to develop care and support that everyone can be proud of.

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