Alex Fox reflects on the learning from the Leadership Indaba.
This much we know
We know that we need prevention not crisis response – but that commissioners will not invest consistently in prevention, however much we want them to.
We know we need workers to act autonomously and take risks in the individual’s best interests – but that most large organisations will create systems which rule this out (because risks to organisations invariably trump the risks most important to individuals).
We know we need people to see themselves as sharing responsibility for their own health and wellbeing – but that the majority of professionals will feel they should look after the people ‘in their care’, and will risk criticism if they don’t.
We know that the most effective interactions are those we have with people we have had time to get to know, which can only ever be a small number – but that planners will always seek to work at the largest possible scale and see contact time as a reducible unit cost.
We know that to do the right thing consistently, we all need to act as if we are group of humans, but that we all act like we are the subjects of an all-powerful system.
In fact, there’s no such thing as the system: there’s only us and the relationships we have. So we don’t need to – and can’t – try to change the system. Instead we need different relationships with our peers and new relationships with people we haven’t previously thought of as our peers.
Here are four things I think we can do if we’re serious about radical change:
Shift power in the form of money: through handing control of money wherever possible to individuals and small groups, and spend money currently spent on procurement giving them the support they need to spend it creatively.
Shift power in the form of knowledge: through collecting data about the outcomes which matter most to local people and making it available to them in usable ways.
Shift power in the form of accountability. If now we feel accountable first and foremost to inspectors and finance managers, instead we need to ensure we account for ourselves regularly to groups of people who use services and other taxpayers, face to face.
If we do these things, we might just create spaces in our public services for the emotions which make the most difference: empathy, compassion, love.
Alex Fox, 21 June 2015
First published on alexfoxblog.wordpess.com
Alex is CEO of Shared Lives Plus, the UK network for Shared Lives and Homeshare. Alex helps lead on Building Community Capacity for the Think Local, Act Personal partnership and is working on the prevention agenda for the Social Care Transformation Group, having been the co-lead on prevention for the social care White Paper engagement exercise. He Chairs the NHS England, Dept. Health and Public Health England review of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector and is a member of NHS England’s Integrated Personal Commissioning board. He was one of NESTA and The Observer’s Britain’s New Radicals. He is a trustee of the Social Care Institute for Excellence and VoiceAbility.
Alex is an Honorary Assistant Professor at Nottingham University, Research Associate at ResPublica and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), for which he edited The New Social Care. He has a regular column for Local Government Chronicle, blogs at alexfoxblog.wordpress.com and tweets as @AlexSharedLives.