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Tue, 09 Jul 24 10:00

Working Across International Borders

It’s nice to be blogging again this week!

If you’re a regular reader you will have noticed that we have broadened the contributions to put the ADCS blog on to a sustainable footing and are now seeing blogs from a much wider range of people. The feedback is positive so thanks to all who have contributed so far and those to come!

Recently Children and Young People Now also asked us if they could carry our blog on their website which we’ve agreed to so we now potentially have a much wider readership. It’s good to know that there is such interest in the perspectives we can share.

This week I spoke at the European Social Network Integrated Services Conference in Manchester alongside Ray James, President of our sister organisation the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS). Thinking about things from a European perspective sheds a different light on what we do and how we do it.

I vividly recall some work I was part of in 2002 for the British Council who were helping the newly independent Czech Republic establish social care support for people with disabilities. The former Soviet arrangements were so very different from those in this country and this really did make you get back to basic principles when talking about how our services were arranged and helping the leaders in an emerging country think about how they could create new focus of support, as well as the infrastructure and policy to underpin this.

In preparing for my contribution to the Conference I once again had to go back to basics in terms of the principles which underlie our arrangements for public service and the way in which they are administered.

The focus of the Conference was integration and I was asked to contribute using an example of recent policy or service delivery. I chose Future in Mind and the journey we are on to improve support for the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

To continue to thinking about this important area through a different lens has only reinforced for me the vital importance of making the most of this unique opportunity to make better arrangements for the future. There is a complicated landscape to navigate in terms of governance and finance, and I firmly believe that Health and Wellbeing Boards are the vehicle for maintaining a grip on implementation but it will require leadership to make this happen. And it’s always the case that the will to make a difference will vary from place to place and from agency to agency.

So for me this has to be one of the top three things that directors of children’s services have on their list for the next two or three years. We will all need to provide consistent leadership to drive these changes forward or the opportunity could slip through our fingers. This is a once in a generation chance to improve an area of support which has never been more needed and I know that we have the will to make a difference.

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