Working with Directors of Adult Social Services
12/06/2014 Leave a comment
Last Thursday I was asked to take part in a new training course by the National Council Skills Academy for Social Services, for newly appointed Directors of Adult Social Services. The session I was involved was about working in a Political environmental and was a part of a 3 day course. On this programme Directors from across the county got to stay in the splendid surroundings of the Ashbridge Business School in Herefordshire. Ashbridge is a wonderfully grand former stately home, now open to the public at the weekends but during the week it is one of Britain’s top business schools, and what is unusual about it, is that it’s run by a charity and so the hiring of it as a venue for courses would be on a par with any hotel or conference centre but in a stately home.
In some ways the sessions I help deliver are similar to the work I am doing for Directors of Public Health in that I work alongside Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors. We focused more on our personal journeys into being a councillor but in the workshop sessions the discussions were about that key issue for Directors about finding they place and influence, their personal authority in a council world of hieratical authority.
One of the really interesting workshop conversations I was involved in was about the nature of accountability in Local Government set against accountability in the NHS. A large metropolitan or county council has many thousands of employees and complex systems yet if a resident has a problem they speak to their councillor and their councillor speaks to a Director, for all the vastness and complexity that is a two person chain. Set against the NHS where you have Health Watch, Foundations Trusts with massive friends groups and bodies, Governors draw from clinical professionals and the friends, the CCGs, the SHAs and NHS England, in short whenever you seek to get an answer from the NHS and ask who is responsibility they all point up the line or at each other, something the Francis report into Mid Staffs Hospital picked up on, perhaps so much accountability there is no accountability? Perhaps there is something in this democracy thing after all!