Thursday 18 October 2018
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Social care system continues to ignore service users rights and needs, according to new book

Authors of a new book, which is the largest independent study of personalisation and person-centred support to date, say basic human rights are still not being met by the current UK care system.

Supporting People: Towards a person-centred approach is due to be launched by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on 18th May. Written by a team of people who work within the UK care system - either as service users themselves or working closely with service-users – the book aims to address three fundamental questions: What does 'person-centred support' really mean; What are the main barriers to such person-centred support; and How can these barriers be overcome?

Co-author, Peter Beresford, said: "Social care services are routinely failing to safeguard the basic human and civil rights of many service users, limiting their lives and restricting their opportunities.

There has been a failure overall to bring about change in social care in line with what service users say they want. And this was true even before the current round of cuts."

The book builds on evidence gathered during the Standards we Expect project - a national research and development programme, led by service-users and supported by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the findings of which are due to be published on the same day. During the project, a number of key points were identified:

Much mainstream discussion about personalisation has focused on methods and techniques rather than the objectives of achieving person-centred outcomes.
Major obstacles - such as continuing institutionalisation, one size fits all approaches, over-reliance on informal carers, and lack of adequate funding - continue to obstruct the implementation of personalisation and person-centred support, although some local services demonstrate ways in which it can be taken forward even in difficult times.
Achieving person-centred support emerges as inseparable from fundamental cultural and funding change.
Adequate funding from general taxation is likely to offer the most effective route to achieve 'person-centred support' and to reduce the increasingly unhelpful barriers between health, social care and other services.
Practitioners and service users are working hard to advance person-centred support in many settings, developing bottom-up ways of challenging barriers.

Peter Beresford added: "This is the first in-depth examination of the development of person-centred support from the perspectives of service users, carers, face-to-face practitioners and middle managers.

Both service users and practitioners strongly agree on the definition of person-centred support, and have identified clear, value-based criteria. It is now crucial for there to be a true commitment to these values if we are going to make real, lasting change."

Source: National Care Forum