Clenton Farquharson is the Chairman of the Think Local Act Personal partnership (known as TLAP). Amongst many other roles he is a Trustee, Director and activist. Care Talk asked Clenton about his views on the challenges in the sector and the progress he would like to see.
From my perspective, the social care sector is facing some critical challenges: funding is the woolly mammoth because no one wants to talk about it. Then we’ve got the fact that the government tends to be focused on older people rather than younger disabled people of working age. And finally, although everyone talks about ‘a life not a service’ and agrees with the concept, we don’t understand how to join up local government, health, the voluntary sector and housing so that people have a seamless experience rather than a complicated service-driven one.
I think we need a shared language that would help to blur the distinct boundaries between healthcare and social care – after all it doesn’t matter to me who holds the money as long as I can connect with friends, colleagues and live somewhere that’s fit for purpose.
As a nation we haven’t understood what the purpose of a social care or health service really is and we certainly need a proper conversation about what it should look like in future. That means parts of the system will have to give up some of their power, and be brave and coalesce around the wellbeing principle enshrined in the Care Act.
‘TLAP is there to support, enable and facilitate hard conversations – we’re looking for solutions not a whinge fest’
Despite the challenges facing social care we need new thinking – using the expertise and knowledge of our citizens with care and support needs. TLAP is very good at bringing their lived experience into the room, and this is one of its strengths. We model co-production for the sector; it is not a side issue but ingrained in the way we work.
TLAP wants to share its knowledge and experience of how citizens can be at the table to help shape the future. We were involved in working on the Care Act and hope to contribute to the forthcoming green paper.
It’s important to remind ourselves that great strides have been taken and some people get a brilliant experience, but it’s not consistent. This is at the heart of the rhetoric versus reality gap, that TLAP is focused on calling out. The green paper should address how to put money towards making the Care Act a reality for everyone, rather than just an aspiration.
‘Following an eight day hospital admission when I felt like an imposition on the NHS I got involved in the Quality Matters commitment
Many people and organisations share a vision of what the Quality Matters commitment means. I believe it’s really important not just to focus on the key performance indicators (KPIs) but to balance them with treating people with kindness, dignity and respect. There’s still a need to remind the system about being human. TLAP’s refreshed Making It Real framework for what good personalised care looks like will help.
The government can do more, by strengthening legislation that enables civil society to deliver a life not a service. In my opinion, we need an environment that enables us to move from an illness model toward a wellbeing model. This would help us all to be outstanding.
Think Local Act Personal is a national partnership of more than 50 organisations committed to transforming health and care through personalisation and community-based support. hyperlink to website.