Spring is upon us, the clocks have changed and this year we have the additional excitement of a General Election. Always an opportunity to look both back and forwards here at ARC, it is also when we say thank you to our members for their contribution to our work and to ask you to carry on being part of the ARC community.

I want to take the opportunity to remind you all of what you will gain by continuing your relationship with ARC. But also, it’s a chance to reintroduce myself. It’s been great to be here over the last 6 months helping to shape our offer for next year. I am keen to hear from you about your current needs and concerns – your input very much shapes the nature and delivery of ARC’s work, and we are committed to helping you! Please get in touch.

There is a lot coming up and we know it can seem daunting – the Care Act 2014 is now upon us and April also sees the introduction of the newly launched Care Certificate. In fact, CQC has published information that sets out what they expect from health and social care providers in conjunction with the introduction of  the Care Certificate. And, of course, there’s the usual day-to-day pressure on providers to deliver the best service possible, with ever limited and reduced resources!

Over the past year, we have identified the National Minimum Wage and Sleep-ins as an issue with potentially massive impact for our members (and the sector in general), particularly with local authorities still factoring in fixed amounts for sleep-ins! As part of our strategy to address the problem, ARC England & Wales has sent letters to Norman Lamb and Local Directors of Adult Social Services highlighting the negative impact of the EAT Tribunal decision and our concerns about the potentially disastrous consequences for providers. In collaboration with Emma Cooper of Flint Bishop Solicitors, we have also recently updated our briefing for members, which we will be circulating next week with news of our planned webinars focussing on the issue. The webinars will allow you to be updated about the issue at your own convenience (and less cost!). We will, of course, continue to facilitate networks and opportunities for providers to come together and have a united front on this issue. We know there is more to be done, and once the election is over we will continue to campaign about this together.

Looking back, moving forward

Here’s a flavour of some of the other activities and opportunities we have shared with you over the past year and a taster of some of those we have planned to take us forward and build upon in the forthcoming year.

  • Free promotion of your organisation’s job opportunities via our website and newsletter
  • Free registration with our Online Disclosure Service and reduced administration fees for DBS checks (only £10 discounted admin fee for members, plus DBS fees of £26 standard, £44 enhanced)
  • Employment Law Updates – these have been in Birmingham, Bristol, Newcastle, Surrey, Kent and Devon.
  • Discounted Law Advice – 25% off Law Advice with Flint Bishop Solicitors.
  • Supporting Medication – Train the Trainer (in Devon and Kent in December 2014, and an update held in Chesterfield on 24th March)
  • Care Certificate Awareness session in Chesterfield on April 28th to help you get updated with all the right info. Book now!
  • A series of events to raise awareness of and highlight the impact the landing of  the Care Act 2014 will bring
  • A collection of Policy Roundtables, which took place in Coventry, Nottingham, York and Plymouth, looking at the future of commissioning in light of the Care Act 2014, with more being planned for the next 12 months.
  • Helping Each Other – we have developed short films as part of the Helping Each Other training we offer. Each short play depicts a situation in which someone with a learning disability is being sexually exploited or groomed. All the plays are drawn from real life stories and will be available to watch on our ARC England Youtube channel.
  • Learning Disability Alliance – we are very proud to be one of the founding members of the LDA, an independent membership organisation, campaigning to advance the rights of people with learning disabilities.

And, if you’re not already an ARC member and want to take advantage of all of these benefits, our website provides information about what we do and why you should join, or you can contact me directly at Esther.Oddy@arcuk.org.uk or telephone 01246 541 677.