I’m not talking about Brexit today. I’m not. As important as it is and as much as I support the need to establish a worthy deal, appreciate the impact it could have on the sector (workforce, the supply chain etc.), and am keen to support DHSC’s work on preparing us for a potential no deal, I am not talking about Brexit – in this blog at least.

The last three weeks have been somewhat of a whirlwind, a blur if you will, with everything we’ve been involved in and I wanted to share with you a ‘taste’ of what’s been on our ‘radar’ for a bit of a change.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been engrossed analysing the data and evidence of impact and been completing the final report for a Skills for Care Workforce Innovation Funded project that aimed to embed personalisation (further) within the workforce. We worked with one of our members, and some of their services in the East Midlands region to train their Service Managers/Leaders and front line staff in person centred Active Support, and support them to embed it as a way of working. The project was only for a short 7 months but within that time the impact of enabling people who access support and ‘doing with them’ rather than ‘for them’ had a dramatic impact on building skills and increasing independence for some people. For example, we captured evidence of people making a cup of tea for one of their loved ones for the first time ever, a reduction in behaviours of concern, and that staff found themselves enjoying a ‘feel good factor’ more than ever before in their role as they saw the people they support involved in their own lives more and more after everyday that passes. We will be sharing the resources we designed as a part of the project and telling you more about its impact and success in a few weeks – it’s inspiring stuff and highlights yet again that Active Support is one of the most effective service models around.

This week saw me head to the ‘big smoke’ as I have been invited to take part in an Expert Advisory Group with CQC, who are undertaking a thematic review of restraint, prolonged seclusion and segregation. It was the second meeting of the group, and the first I managed to get to, and I must say it was encouraging to be a part of the meeting. There were people there from all walks of life – different organisations, specialist services, Health colleagues, Experts by Experience, family carers etc. We were exploring how providers and the ‘system’ can protect the welfare and rights of people in prolonged seclusion/long term segregation and how providers can minimise the use of these ‘methods’.

The message was clear that we have to focus on the preventive measures that can be taken to avoid people who need support getting to the stage where restraint, segregation and seclusion seems the only option, as well as, thinking about the people that are still residing in long stay hospitals, ATU’s etc. – and how we can best support them. Another message that came through loud and clear was that we have been talking about this for decades – it is now time for action to enable change. I look forward to the next meeting in September.

The day after this meeting I had the pleasure of attending another, this time at London Southwark University regarding the pilot Trainee Nursing Associates Programme in Learning Disability. It is the 100th anniversary of Learning Disability Nursing, but as the recent Nursing Times article reports, it is in huge decline. I have spoken to a few of our members about this pilot and it seems that there is a place for Nurse Associates who are registered with the NMC but are focused on supporting people with learning disabilities, however, it is a matter of identifying what type of services could make best ‘use’ of them. It is clear there is a shift towards supported living and so the question is around how a Nursing Associate would best fit in that type of provision (as well as others of course) – well that’s what the pilot is for, to explore all of that. There are a number of providers involved (who cover the London and Thames Valley area) and I am excited to see where this goes, with the first tranche of Trainees starting in June this year. A number of key partners are supporting this – from academia to Health, Skills for Care to providers themselves – I’ll keep you in the loop.

Lastly, ARC membership. Our subscription year runs from 1st April, we have been in touch with all of our members individually and already we have over 15% of them renewed in the first few days. Encouraging stuff! We work hard to ensure we add value to providers, stay relevant and represent the voice of our members in a number of ways in a number of forums. I was delighted to receive an email from the first member to renew this year, which said, “Well done all of you for being so pro-active and caring for our most vulnerable.  ARC Rocks!!!!!!” Shameless plug I know, but it is so encouraging to hear what members think and feel about the work we do.

With so much challenge in the sector going on in one way or another – the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill wrangle, the funding crisis, the looming Supreme Court appeal re the Mencap case and of course the ‘B’ word, it is nice to reflect on the progress that is being made to improve the lives of the people who access support – it makes it all worthwhile.

Have a fabulous weekend – see you after Easter!

Best wishes


Lisa Lenton
ARC England Director