Our sector is often misunderstood, and oftentimes people without any links to social care have a very limited understanding of how the sector works and the problems it faces. Discussions on funding and integration can often feel impenetrable for those without prior knowledge, so it is important that we ensure people outside of the sector are still able to resonate with not just the challenges of social care, but also the fulfilling and life-changing work those in care do daily.
I visited the University of Surrey to talk to a cohort about social care, and the importance of policy advocacy; it was a fantastic opportunity to discuss the work of Care England with a group of students just beginning their political journeys.
I spoke to the students about Care England’s proactive and reactive responses when it comes to policy matters; Care England can approach media, sector stakeholders and government officials to place issues providers are facing in the national consciousness, or react to topics that arise to ensure the voices of care providers is not lost in the debate. I also highlighted the importance of maintaining good relationships with government and opposition parties through the Care Home Parliamentary Network which ensures politicians across both houses are well briefed on salient social care matters. Furthermore, I placed importance on good working relationships with local actors to ensure tangible change towards the betterment is care is made based on the needs of each different community.
Also discussed were the challenges in funding and workforce the sector faces, and the resulting importance of ensuring the voice of the sector is not lost in local and national debates. The work of Care England ensures that fundamental issues don’t go unnoticed or unheard, and that the correct actors are held to account. It also ensures the voices of all providers, no matter the service they deliver, or the size of their organisation, has the chance to be heard.
Charlie Lezard – Policy Officer