Step in to Christmas…

Christmas is just around the corner – how do I know? Well, Christmas cards have been in the shops since August, so it’s not that… I know how I know… X-Factor (more like the Y- Factor, Y for Yawn) and ‘Strictly’ have both crowned their winners. That can only mean one thing – it’s time for family, fun and festivities!

So, here is the last edition of Real People in 2015 – and what a year it has been! A year of many changes for ARC England, our members and the sector overall.

This year I became the first ever ARC England Director, a great honour and a challenge I am relishing, I must say. I have had the pleasure of meeting many of our members since I started in post back in May and, as we head in to 2016, I will be on the road again. It is so vital for us to understand how we can best support our membership base and that ‘face to face’, personal touch is so important. The ‘ARC Community’ continues to grow and so does our collective strength and voice in the sector.

So what else in 2015… Andy Murray won the Davis Cup for Great Britain, the ‘special one’ parted company with Chelsea (I have my own theory on that), Star Wars was released, a Brit is in space and of course how could we forget Mr. Cameron secured another ‘term’.

In the latter half of this year there has been much discussion, concern and realisation of the impact of the increase in the living wage and a huge amount of lobbying in respect of the Comprehensive Spending Review. And, as you know, we have been actively involved with the Care Providers Alliance and Care and Support Alliance challenging the decision makers.

We have been busy engaging with our members too. We ‘kicked off’ sessions in respect of the changes to Employment law initially in Bristol, Devon, and Surrey back at the start of the year; these have now developed and been incorporated in to recent broader sessions on the impact of National Living Wage, sleep-ins and the CSR. These have taken place in four regions – the North, Central, South West areas with a date set for January for the South East event. These have been integral to our forward planning for ARC England, looking at how we can be most effective and practically support our members. This model of looking at national issues with regional relevance will gather pace as we plan the next wave of events – this time looking at CQC inspection and what the sector think is outstanding, as well as the possibility of stronger dialogue between the CQC and the sector itself. Our approach is to be one of collaboration, innovation and positive action.

What else? A lot has happened really, too much to mention! Let’s not forget the unveiling of The Care Certificate by Skills for Care though (to be honest I think it is still being wrestled with by some providers). The Law Commission have been busy looking at Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards, as Local Authorities remain swamped with applications. I could go on and on but I would miss my Christmas dinner! It’s been a busy old year.

Looking forward to the New Year, we are in process of securing new premises, still in Chesterfield, so a move is on the cards. We will be sharing the results of the members survey and our new business plan in due course too. We have already started planning the next raft of events and are pulling together actions from the recent NLW/CSR meetings. Plenty to get our teeth in to! I would also welcome our members input in to ‘Real People’, please let us know if you would like to write a blog for us next year.

Before I wish you all a Merry Christmas I would like to offer thanks to a couple of key partners this year who have supported us – Nick Newman, Weightmans Solictors LLP and Chris Simpson, BDO. I would also like to thank all our members for your ongoing, valuable support. Finally I must give special thanks to Anthea Sully for steering the ‘ARC ship’ in the early part of the year for us and Real Life Options for enabling her to do so.

All that is left to say is the ARC England team and I wish you a peaceful and joyful Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

Festive wishes,

Lisa Lenton
ARC England Director