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How would you redesign Social Services?

(10 Posts)
donkeyderby Fri 27-Feb-09 10:23:41

I have a mental picture of Social Services - a big stadium full of families with disabled children is on fire, but there is only one, tiny exit through which - if they barge and push enough - only a few will get through to safety.

The whole system seems designed to keep social workers (some good, some not so good) in jobs, but families accessing as little as possible and I'd love to know your ideas on how it could be better. It must be frustrating to work for a service that has to say 'no' so much of the time too.

If I ruled the world, I would get rid of many qualified SW's who seem to be largely expensive gatekeepers to a diabolical lack of services. In their place, I would employ lots of (cheaper) SW assistants or playworkers to do practical work, like providing short breaks, clubs, 1:1's, etc. A bottom up approach, rather than the current top down.

I haven't had happy experiences with SS as you can probably tell and i'd love to see a radical change in the way it is organised.

cyberseraphim Fri 27-Feb-09 10:29:57

I haven't had much contact with SS but I think in general, the main provision in SN is assessment for very limited services with very long waiting lists. So yes, get rid of the layers of expensive assessment and provide some 'hands on' help ! But then that's not how bureaucracy works - higher level positions have to be invented to provide a promotion structure.

vjg13 Fri 27-Feb-09 11:10:34

I find it very scarey that they don't tell you about things. Direct payments is a closely guarded secret around here! So I would vote for better quality information too.

devientenigma Fri 27-Feb-09 12:44:26

Hi, around 18 months ago a few of us parents got together with help from the LA to start a steering group. The group consists of about 12 parents and we work voluntarily alongside the head of education and inclusion, head of childrens disability social services plus more. The aim is to try changing the way services run, how we can get things more streamlined, getting the SS, Ed and PCT to work together for the benefit of the child and the family. This is also coinciding with the aiming high project and every disabled child matters. I am sure something similar could be set up in your area. We have also had help from contact a family. Worth also asking them. We have so far held 2 conferences for parents by parents and our 3rd is at the end of March. We have worked in depth into leisure, short break care, keworkers(which we don't have), transition and information. We open feeders for our smaller groups at the conferences. We may just be ticking a box for the profs in the fact they have parental participation, however parents and carers in the area are noting a change.
It may not help your individual circumstances but being there and invloved is a hugh difference andf fun.
I was noted as a troublemaker with DS SN school and SS but since being involved I have not recieved any benefits or services but am now seen as an individual wanting to help open eyes and think out of the box. Hope this helps and feel free to ask anything else.

sarah293 Fri 27-Feb-09 18:51:00

Message withdrawn

devientenigma Fri 27-Feb-09 20:45:32

Riven LOL

MannyMoeAndJack Fri 27-Feb-09 21:51:48

I think SWs have very big caseloads these days (due to the ever growing populations of disabled kids, old people, child protection, etc) and we all know that SS is massively underfunded, so it's one big numbers game. I'm cynical enough to think that until society at large is willing to pay yet more taxes towards better all-round services, then change is unlikely. I would be interested to learn how other countries structure their social services provision - does anybody have any examples?

Tinkering with the structure of SS would achieve little unless their actual ability to deliver any meaningful services changed in tandem.

We are a growing and ageing population, quite scary really.

Arabica Sun 01-Mar-09 23:04:36

for hijack

Hi devientenigma, read about your steering group with interest as we are trying to do something similar where I live--would you be able to email me on bergmann dot grainger at btinternet dot com and I will get back to you and explain further! Thanks v much.

Arabica Sun 01-Mar-09 23:05:32

Woops, that wasn't meant to be a failed link, just a nicely decorated apology for hijacking the thread...sorry.

devientenigma Thu 05-Mar-09 14:52:54

Hi Arabica,
I keep meaning to email you our conference reports and info. I haven't forgotten about you. In the meantime you could ring Kathy Rist at Contact a family to find out how to get started. Although Kathy is north east region but still could give advice. Her number is 01912136300 Hope this helps for now. Take care.

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