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Opening loopholes

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

At a recent gathering the concept of a ‘Commissioner for Older People’ was discussed. This was tweaked to become a ‘Commissioner for Care’, broadening the potential purview to include younger people in receipt of social care services.

Having given it a little thought, I am not keen on the idea. Does anyone remember that in 2012, Dame Denise Platt (former chair of the former regulator) was appointed as ‘Red Tape Champion’ by the Care Providers Alliance? Can anyone, hand on heart, cite any examples of where the bureaucratic burden has been lightened for care providers since that time?

I remain to be convinced that champions, commissioners, Tsars, call them what you will, achieve anything that justifies the cost of setting-up and maintaining the office.

Besides, we already have a minister for social care (yes, yes, I know we’ve had rather a lot of them – I’m waiting for my turn) and, while a commissioner may be able to say things that a minister cannot, the latter has the power to potentially do a lot more than the former. What’s more, the minister is part of government and is accountable to us. A commissioner would be accountable to . . . ?

I am also more than a little concerned that government will respond with alacrity to the idea of a care commissioner; it would be a terrific way of appearing to be addressing the issues by which social care is beset, while continuing to do nothing that actually makes a difference.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

2 Replies to “Opening loopholes”

  1. Displacement activity . . . I’m doing it now! Instead of getting on with the real work or confronting the things that make you most anxious, you find yourself doing something irrelevant or at least more comfortable. In social care, we really have to watch out for this because the real job is so anxiety provoking. It’s not just an individual thing, Care teams do it. Organisations are invented to do it for government. The very notion of “quality” and its “commission” is a displacement activity. Much of what we call “management” and “training” and “excellence” is detached from and irrelevant to real care. If you want to get anywhere in social care, get into a specialist displacement career; then you can be well paid, keep your hands clean, tell other people how to do something you have no little if any experience of, and look forward to collecting your pension. Then you can waste your time however you like.

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