This month I attended the Wales Co-operative Centre’s “Doing Things Differently” event. This looked how we can improve social services for citizens in Wales by looking at alternative delivery models such as social enterprises, co-operatives, user led services and third sector organisations.
I was very pleased to see that the Citizen Directed Co-operatives Cymru (CDCC) project got a special mention!
^^Photo of Derek Walker (Chief Exec Wales Co-operative Centre) discussing the benefits of user- led Direct Payment co-operatives.
This was an exciting event. Not only was there strong commitment for changing the way social services are delivered, but an appetite for it. Mark Drakeford gave a passionate and inspiring speech about the need to deliver both ‘with, and for, citizens’ and how we seem to be at a rare moment when ‘necessity meets opportunity’.
^(Apologies for the bad quality photo- I couldn’t get a seat near the front!)
The environment seems right for real change in social services in Wales. But I want this change to mean that citizens gain real choice and control over the care and support they receive.
It was mentioned frequently at the event the importance of ‘putting the individual at the centre of care’. However, I was disappointed that there wasn’t more discussion about the need to ensure that the service user has the opportunity to direct their care.
Citizen directed support means giving the individual real choice and control. It involves trusting that the individual knows best what their requirements are and how they can be met. It’s not just putting the citizen in the centre of a circle professionals- but giving them the power to make decisions about their life.
And that’s what I want to achieve from the Citizen Directed Co-operatives Cymru project. Giving citizens real choice and control over their lives and allowing users to make the decisions about how their care and support requirements are met.
Putting us in the driving seat.
So I want to ask you a question: given the opportunity- how would you choose for your support requirements to be met?
Would you choose who your personal assistant is? Choose what they do and how they do it? Choose where you receive care and when?
Or would you like to get out and about in the community? Sign up to classes? Go to the rugby or football? Take up a new hobby?
When you have control, the opportunities are endless.
Comment below about what YOU would choose.
If you’d like to help me make a ‘citizen directed’ film- send me an email and I’ll let you know how you can get involved!