Giving more in a sharing economy


People’s surplus time is something we can make much more of, particularly with regard to the needs of older people who are isolated or who feel vulnerable. To capitalise on this resource we have to tackle those obstacles that reduce people’s propensity to offer their surplus time. The solutions may be many but include technologies that allow people to identify where their surplus time, however marginal, can be used to good effect, achieving a better connectedness between formal care, informal family care and other community support, enabling organisations and groups to increase mutual support within existing structures, changing the perception of what older people have to offer, and supporting people to create their own systems of informal support. For each of these proposals there is a practical agenda. Continue reading


Why measures of adult social care don’t work

Getting to grips with the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework (ASCOF) is no simple matter. We’ve just been given access to some of the outcomes data on a new website: . The technology behind it is impressive and it’s clear that the effort behind the whole ASCOF exercise is substantial.

We’re told by DH that “The ASCOF measures how well the care and support system achieves the things we would expect for ourselves and for our friends and relatives. People who use care and support, carers and the public can use this information to see how well their local authority is performing, helping people to hold their council to account for the quality of the care they provide, commission or arrange.” This sounds good but it’s a claim we have to look at with some scepticism. This is for three main reasons: Continue reading

Why don’t people speak up?

Watching Dispatches on Channel 4 about the failings of surgeon Ian Paterson, we have to ask again why more people didn’t speak up about something that plainly was going wrong. There must have been many people involved in his operations and their aftermath. Clearly, intimidation is an issue and fear of reprisals. Also, there is the way in which a man with such authority, power and self-confidence can make others doubt their own judgement. We’ve proposed on this site that the web app Care Comments could help. Through Care Comments people submit their observations in a low-risk way to service commissioners. In the Paterson case we might suppose that observations would have been submitted from .. fellow surgeons, theatre colleagues, ward staff, referring GPs, Macmillan nurses etc. With such a volume of data that cross references and triangulates to confirm a problem, the imperative to take action is strong. It’s not the only solution, but it is worth consideration.

Turning the welfare state upside down? .. not just yet

The Health Services Management Centre has produced an interesting report that questions the fundamentals of the ‘social care offer’ that people receive today.

Glasby et al say “It should come as no surprise to anyone that there is a growing crisis in adult social care. Policymakers, practitioners and people using services alike all argue that the current system is fundamentally “broken”. This is not the fault of current managers or front-line professionals – we just have a 1940s system designed with 1940s aspirations and society in mind, which feels increasingly unfit for purpose in terms of how we live other aspects of our life in the early 21st century.”  Continue reading

Small actions that make a big difference

This is an extract from a blog by Samantha Jones. It recounts the visit of Kate Granger to Watford Hospital:

“One of my previous blogs for the Trust talked about Kate Granger (@grangerkate), a third year elderly medicine registrar who is living with a rare and aggressive type of sarcoma that will end her life prematurely.  We were lucky enough to have Kate visit Watford Hospital yesterday & talk to the Friday Grand Round about her recent experiences as a patient and how.. #hellomynameis .. came about and why. Continue reading

Can computers help people to make decisions?

Decision making software helps in many areas of life both professional and personal. But it hasn’t infiltrated into the world of social care. That’s strange when the kinds of decisions people are being asked to make about how to use their personal budgets are complex, far-reaching and difficult. Read more on the IdeaShare page, and if you’re interested, leave a comment.