In Control Scotland
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the AGM in Glasgow of In Control Scotland. ICS supports citizens in Scotland to make the most of their self-directed support, to advocate for greater awareness of SDS, and to ensure that a person centred approach obtains meaningful outcomes which help us all to achieve good lives.
Going along to the venue last Thursday and meeting people from all walks of life, I was again amazed at what the average bod in the street takes for granted: the right to decide whether, when and how to do something; the right to enjoy activities outside their homes and engage in employment, hobbies and socialising; the right to make friends and find companionship and love; all these things we so often assume we can enjoy. And if someone somewhere were to come along and say, ‘sorry, you can’t afford to go out, and you can’t afford to socialise in your modest way, your budget is being cut….’ we would be irked, to say the least.
In a climate in which rationing is fashionable, and in which service providers are often expected to focus on ‘areas of greatest need’, social care budgets are under constant scrutiny. For my money, the only way to ensure that social care provides relevant services to its citizens is to ensure they remain user led.
Thankfully, legislation passed by the Scottish government ensures that Self Directed Support is now the default position for all care provision in Scotland. Although this option has several complexions, (some of which hand back control of care and outcomes to the social services departments from which they have been devolved) to have the principle enshrined in law is an immensely helpful first step. But a lot of work still needs to be done, to ensure that these rights are not eroded and to guarantee that people have the right to make meaningful choices and are awarded the dignity and privacy to make full and rewarding life possible.
Many thanks to everyone for extending such a warm welcome to me for the afternoon, in particular to John Dalrymple for the invitation to attend, to Catriona, Marie, Louise and Lorna for their cheerful company, and to Diana for recognising me, and for the lift home afterwards (in very frosty conditions). I had a wonderful time.