Integration – Starting small…..

Last week I attended the launch of Surrey Care Association – a county wide association establishing itself as an independent membership body. There were a small number of our members at the event – those who cross over between care and support – but predominantly they were private organisations who running one or more residential care homes or domicillary care operations.

The agenda varied little from any meeting of supported housing providers I have attended in recent years – funding, regulation, impending legislative changes and commissioning practice. There were some things that were not discussed with as much vigour as I might expect from a supported housing crowd – less focus on coproduction, less talk of assets and strengths – but the same commitment to provide care and support with the individual at the centre of that agenda.

So – why are we sitting in different rooms? Why when we are so keen to promote to policy makers the value of housing being a critical part of the integration agenda – the much exalted triumvirate of health, housing and social care – are we not modelling that behaviour at a local level?

In an effort to address some of that challenge in a small way, I was really pleased that at the launch Sitra and the Surrey Care Association are working together to bring housing and social care closer together in the locality. We are going to look actively at opportunities to provide training that will appeal across the sectors, share information and advice and work at opportunities to bring providers of housing support and care together.

These are small steps, I recognise – but important ones to begin to build up the narrative of integration from the grass roots upwards. Our shared purpose was evident from the event – and was reminded when watching the voting for #ukhousing #powerplayers2014 unfurl – I was struck by the very timely comment of Paul Taylor at the end of his recent blog…..

“As I’ve said – in an online super-connected world – sectors only exist in our imagination anyway….”

and to remember – that whilst we might not all be ‘super-connected’ yet – the people that we work with will get so much more from any small steps we take…..

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