Prevention: Walking the walk

As a sector, housing related support has invested significant time, energy and money in demonstrating how significant a player it is in the ‘spend to save’ market. Over recent years research and reviews have demonstrated that money spent now on housing related support services can save significant investment in higher level health, social care, penal and other statutory resources. There is still a long way to go in this debate, but valuable resources such as Prevention and Personalisation  are invaluable in informing and advising a wide range of stake holders.

However, as a sector, we need to make sure that we practice what we preach. Just as we make a please for local authorities to continue to focus on prevention, we need to ensure that we are investing sufficient resource in prevention among our own services. Good quality training and development have long been recognised as central to driving up services, supporting efficiency and ensuring the best value and experience for users of housing related support services. The world of both policy and practice is changing rapidly – key drivers around personalisation, payment by results and overall approaches such as co-production offer new challenges for all. Housing related support needs to make sure that it is conversant and leading the way in these areas to retain a place at the table. Without retaining our focus on developing staff, service users and commissioners may result in a costly game of ‘catch up’ further down the line – ‘spend to save’ applies equally to the way in which we manage our own resources.

As CEO of Sitra I spend a lot of time talking to members and I am fully aware that the challenge to find the resources to invest in prevention is pretty much universal – the day to day challenges of survival permeate many of my discussions.  Following on from these, we have talked as a team and are trying to find ways in which we can support members in this. We have expanded our public course programme significantly, taking in a much broader range of housing, health and social care courses. We have also made a price drop across the board, so that members of Sitra can access 1 day courses for as little as £89 per day. Courses are delivered by experts in the field who understand the challenges and changes to the sector, and recognise that valuable time spent on training courses needs to count.  I do hope that you will take the time to have a look at what is on offer and accept the challenge to put prevention firmly back on your internal agenda.

I have updated this blog following the lasa report just published which picks up on the longer term threat to the quality of work in the sector if organisations to not sustain a focus on training

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