SCIE opinion - 12 November 2013

Any comments on this opinion? Please email

Photograph of Andrew Cozens

One page profiles: a revelation

From Andrew Cozens, freelance consultant and Chair, Carers Trust

Throughout my career in social care I have always tried to hang on to the principle that all of us need care and support and it is the capacity to organise it ourselves that can be impaired by circumstances, life events or crises.

This is the appeal for me of personalisation: the opportunity to exercise choice and control even at our lowest ebb, and to receive support in a way that is designed and tailored for us.

The trouble is that many of us working in social care have become used to separating the professional from the personal and to not anticipating our own current or future need for support from others. I have lost count of the number of stories senior managers have told me about their powerlessness in navigating health and care services for their own family or themselves.

Similarly, we do not routinely think about how we can best be supported or express preferences about how people relate to us.

Ironically this gap applies equally to those who cannot communicate verbally because of illness or disability, and also applies to the most confident of communicators.

SCIE’s work, and that of consultant Helen Sanderson’s, on ‘Getting to know you’ one page profiles of people who use services, was a revelation for me. Their simplicity and wide application was immediately attractive to me. The work shaped a conversation about my own needs, preferences and personal outcomes in a way that was quick, direct but surprisingly thorough.

Based on that, someone supporting me in any context would know a lot about how I like to organise myself and how best to relate to me. Even going through the process myself, I could readily see how it would work in all sorts of health and care settings, but more importantly anywhere that people of all ages interact.

I have always worried that assessment is dry, impersonal and functional. One page profiles can bring it to life so the person shines through their own individual plan. I think that everyone should create their own profile – including care and health staff. The process of examining their own preferences and aspirations can give staff a fresh perspective on what personalised care looks, and feels, like.

And of course we are all likely to need care and support one day – so having your one page profile prepared in advance is a good idea.

SCIE’s new e-learning resource – Getting to know you – explains the value of completing and using one page profiles, and talks you through the process in a clear and accessible way.

Andrew Cozens is a freelance consultant with over 30 years of experience in social care. He has worked as a strategic adviser for the Improvement and Development Agency for local government, and has been a director of social services and a President of the Association of Directors of Social Services.


Getting to know you – SCIE e-learning resource on one page profiles

SCIE e-learning resources on personalisation

Social Care TV films on personalisation

All SCIE resources on personalisation