Social Services + Health Authority County Project:Cheshire UK.
Position: Local Chairman 11 years. Position: County-wide Chairman 6 years (Chair of Chairs). March 1994 – February 2006 Duration:12 years
In 1994, a county-wide project was set up by Cheshire Social Services and the Health Authority in the UK in response to a government directive to involve service users across all client groups and people with caring responsibilities in the planning and developing of future services.
Five Borough forums representing local; people who accessed services, people with caring responsibilities, social services, community care services, primary care, voluntary organisations and individuals with an interest met monthly to discuss and facilitate local issues. Additionally, an overarching Chair of Chairs group met monthly to facilitate the project.
The forums were also responsible for the first round of prioritising Joint Finance Bids in the county; Health Authority ring-fenced government funding to allocate up to three year grants to set up community joint statutory and voluntary sector led initiatives locally and county-wide.
The work involved keeping abreast of central government planning, proposals and service developments in relation to; social and community, primary care, service users and carer’s issues specifically relating to rural areas.
The difference between rural social deprivation and urban social deprivation was significant in terms of perceived rural affluence and service shortfalls and urban potentially more easily identifiable hardship and service shortfalls.
The chairmen’s remit included participating in the County Council’s annual budget draft policy and expenditure proposals consultation in relation to social services and community care services across the rural county.
The county-wide project developed into more ‘meaningful participation’ consultation and held successful inclusive creative workshops. The forums endeavoured to consult with individuals of all levels of ability. My interest areas within the project remit were adult learning difficulties and physical disabilities including sensory impairment.
Concern was consistently highlighted regarding the consultation processes from grass roots, county and government level in terms of inclusion, transparency, time frames, potential influence of those consulted and findings usefulness to consultants.
I facilitated the work of a ‘link participation group’ with the objective to further develop more meaningful processes; promoting ‘breaking down the barriers’ working in partnership. The ‘Whose Life is it Anyway?’ workshops proved to be good models of joint working. Contributing to The government’s Code of Practice on Consultation was acknowledged.
I also took on the role of play-let ‘Can I help you?’ producer; joint working with colleagues from the voluntary and statutory sector to demonstrate the importance of personable, efficient and appropriate service and information delivery in National Health Service General Practitioner’s surgery reception areas. The play-let was staged for primary health care managers and successfully promoted good working practice.
Additionally, I was a member of one of the local and of the overarching County Council Health Scrutiny Panel. I was also involved in CCHSP sub-group work in relation to Children’s Services and National Health Services Review.
My position included prioritising and accepting invitations within my remit to attend, give presentations or chair; statutory and voluntary organisations conferences, workshops and meetings across the county.
Skills: Keeping my eye on the ball; whilst thinking outside of the box. Facilitating Joint Working Meaningful Participation via; discussion groups including workshops, drama, presentations, consultation/research, creating questionnaires, collating findings/ feedback and creating information sharing journals, Photography.
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Editor: Cass Jade Foxley
Updated: 19 January 2017