Monday, 4 July 2016

WORDS MATTER

Vic Citarella attends a Belinda Schwehr workshop

Last week I attended a day workshop put on by Community Living Magazine led by Belinda Schwehr. It was entitled Adult Social Care Legal Developments. I had forgotten how much Belinda can pack into a day and I am not going to make any real attempt to relay the contents. If you or your organisation want to learn about social care law then Belinda must be the go to trainer.

To give a flavour here are just a few extracts from my notes before I stopped writing and concentrated on listening. You are always sure of a gargantuan handout from Belinda and note taking is superfluous. She is protective with her intellectual copyright but generous to her customers.  So here goes:
  • Legal literacy can only come from realising that every word matters. Hear here.
  • Social work is a surreal sector. Don't we know it - not.
  • Grey hair is good in social work. What goes round comes round.
  • It is not legally true that social services is for everybody. Its legally untrue then?
  • Providers can just stay firm and say "no". If only
  • You can't moan about fees if you keep taking them and hide the true consequences. Easy to say.
On carers
  • Assessed eligible unmet need. It is people's carers who really give them choice. It is what carers are prepared to do. To work this out social workers need to be able to have grown up conversations for which they need to be legally literate. Who is doing carer's assessments? Anyone who provides any free support of practical or emotional use is a carer and eligible for assessment. Respite services are users services. Don't drive carers into assessment it is daft. Prevention makes more sense as only a few will give up. Necessary care what does it mean? There is no obligation to care. People cannot be made to care. Carers will not stop caring unless they think their loved ones will be alright.
On assessment, care planning and charging
  • Three things that would make your life better - in priority order. Simple advice for being assessed
  • People who know their rights will get more. Squeaky wheel.
  • When care is being "mediaevalised" then the law matters. This applies beyond care.
  • The care plan is the bedrock of the clients rights. You better believe it.
  • Outcomes-based planning without inputs gives away clients rights. Its the workers - how many, how long, how competent - that matter.
  • You can't charge for something you are not providing. Some will try it on though
  • Local authorities cannot charge the user more than services costs. Charging is not to be used to redistribute wealth.
  • People must not be left without support whilst a dispute is resolved. Shout it from the roof tops
Finally
  • Just because it shocks you don't think it will shock a judge. Shocking
  • Never say never...say usually. Words matter
  • Social services managers need to be good at the law in order to be strategic leaders. Or know someone who is?
Belinda runs regular webinars if you can't get to one of her workshops. Have a look at http://www.schwehroncare.co.uk/

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