This is my last blog as interim Chief Executive as I am about to return fully to Real Life Options who lent me to ARC for a few months. It’s been a time of endings and beginnings for all of us. I am very glad that ARC England now has a clear identity and its first ever Director, Lisa Lenton. Lisa has already been getting out and about and she’d love to hear from you going forward.

Watch this space for news of our reinvigorated regional networks that will launch late autumn. There will be opportunities to hear leading speakers, to network with other providers and a place for up and coming managers to have a platform and develop skills. If that sounds interesting and you’d like to be involved in the development please let Lisa know.

Another beginning that has been concurrent with my time at ARC has been the implementation of the Care Act 2014. It is the biggest change in over a generation for social care but possibly still too new for us to get a sense of what’s really emerging. A key outcome of the round tables we held with councillors, our members and commissioners was the need for everyone to work together. Set against an ongoing environment of tight budgets and cuts I feel ensuing that the voices of people we support and our voice as providers in the commissioning process is going to be a major challenge. I hope that the Care Acts emphasis on wellbeing, partnership, personalisation and advocacy means that co-production really means something. I know ARC will be keeping in the debate.

I am terribly sad that I am leaving the team at ARC whilst they are still coming to terms with the loss of our friend and colleague John Robinson. John had played an ongoing role in ARCs work for 16 years. He would be very embarrassed to know I was writing about him in a blog but he was a person who understood the importance of our work and the need to keep plugging away at it. That commitment is something I know ARC as an organisation is determined to continue.