“What have you done today to make you feel proud?”
Directors of social services in the West Midlands have been reflecting on the question “What makes you proud?” As part of a short survey led by Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands, directors have been sharing the stories that make them proud and demonstrate why they continue to strive to care for the most vulnerable members of the community.
Interestingly, the responses don’t focus on how good their strategic plans are, how much money they saved in the last 12 months, or how far along the digital road map they are. Important as all those things are, it’s the difference their services make that’s key. The responses came in the form of a range of positive stories, demonstrating how the interventions of those working in social care continue to transform people’s lives, by keeping them living independently and helping them to thrive. The case studies have also demonstrated how important service users are in shaping the services they receive.
One month since Martin and Peter first posed the question, personal stories and case studies continue to come in. The stories demonstrate the huge positive impact social care workers have on older people, and people with learning disabilities and complex medical conditions, supporting them in ways that are personal to them. The case studies reflect on the complicated lives service users face and the measures social care workers are taking to successfully prevent them from becoming dependant on long term expensive placements in hospital or in care homes.
Peter Hay, the Strategic Director of People at Birmingham City Council, and Martin Samuels, Director of Adults at Herefordshire County Council co-chair West Midlands ADASS. They explain why they asked their colleagues “What makes you proud?”
“With the scale of the task that social care services currently face and the daily reminders in the media of the financial pressures facing us, it is easy to forget that at the centre of the services that we provide are people. People who may have complex needs or may just be lonely and face a future of isolation. Our task is to try to keep as many of them as possible living independently, in safe communities with people around them that care,” explains Peter.
Martin adds, “The examples we have collated are significant to the individuals but multiplied across the region highlight the importance and value that the staff and service users place on living independently, and provide an antidote to the daily grind that people in the care system face. This is a timely reminder of the importance that people and communities are at the heart of what we do”.
Tony, who is a service user in Shropshire, had support from his social worker and independent advocacy to move into his home. “I had the chance to move into my own home and I had lots of support to help me choose if I wanted to move. I met the new staff, they are nice.”
You can find more examples like Tony’s story of great care here.