Spring is a wonderful thing! Arguably it has already sprung although the equinox is a few days away yet and the weather seems to indicate differently too at the moment!

One thing is for sure; we are heading closer to the end of March and there seems to be a deadline on 29th March for something (you may have heard about it), or are the goal posts about to be shifted?! I guess the ‘ball’ is out of our ‘court’ on this now and it is clearly up to the 27 EU states to decide if an extension will be granted in respect of Article 50. Make of this fiasco what you will.

This time of year is always a busy one – and this one is busier than most for our old ‘friends’ in Westminster. It is clear to see we are ramping up for a potential ‘no deal’ exit regardless of the recent vote to not leave without one and seek more time to get something through that is palatable to the majority of MP’s.

In the meantime, as you’d imagine, there is a huge amount of (frantic) work in motion across all areas of Government departments, and I mean all. Over the past couple of weeks the Care Provider Alliance, of which ARC is an alliance member, has been asked by the Department of Health and Social Care EU Exit team (well, one of them) to work with them, to connect with social care providers and explore the potential key impacts on the social care sector in the event of a no deal EU exit. I approached a number of our members so that we would have a solid ARC membership, and so learning disability, presence as a part of this exercise, and I am delighted we have had a positive response and are involved. Thanks to those members taking part. To some extent, I feel that we don’t know what we don’t know yet, if you follow my drift but it is a really worthwhile opportunity to contribute to such a critical exercise in such unique circumstances.

The key concerns focus around staffing and the supply chain for medicines and other consumables – with supplies being the more pressing issue in reality at this stage. Although medicine is the focus in everyone’s minds, from the decision makers to the media, it’s worth remembering that there are hundreds of other items that the sector relies on a day-to-day basis, which we simply don’t produce here. So this exercise with DHSC and providers through the CPA is going to be a learning curve for everyone concerned I think. It is opportunities like this where we can link our members in to critical work that reflects the value that membership adds to the sector as a whole, I think. Long that may continue!

This time of year is also busy as we head towards the end of the financial year. For us here at ARC, we have been preparing for our membership renewal period and we will be in touch with members over the next week or so with information regarding 2019/20 ARC Membership subscriptions. I have said this for many years – we are only as strong as our membership base and I look forward to working with members going forward on all of the key issues – from the EU exit to the unresolved sleep-in issue, to the green paper and funding. There is still much to be done and together we do, and can, continue to make a difference.

Best wishes and have a great weekend


Lisa Lenton
ARC England Director