Paving stones on the road to Hell


Posted on July 11th, by geoff in CT blog. 4 comments

By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson

In any field of human endeavour, what seem to be good ideas will be tried and abandoned when they are shown not to work. Many blind alleys will be explored. Many well-intentioned mistakes will be made. So it is more by way of observation, rather than criticism, that I mention the following:

Whatever happened to “world class commissioning”? As I recall it was a real buzz-phrase about five years ago. Yet in the first issue of ‘commissioning – the voice of progressive health & social care’, published earlier this year by Pixel West Healthcare in association with LaingBuisson, I could find no mention of it. There are articles by such luminaries as Alistair Burt, Norman Lamb, Lord Michael Bichard and Stephen Dorrell but none of them give world class commissioning a mention. The phrase appears to have been erased from history. I wonder why?

And then there’s the Care Providers’ Alliance (CPA), formed a few years ago as a coming together of the multifarious representative organisations in the care sector to let them speak with a common voice. But it seems never to say anything. Certainly none of the CPA’s utterances, if there are any, have crossed my desk in the last year or so.

And does anyone remember “Careship”? No? Well, this was an idea dreamed up in 2012 by Goosebumps Brand Consultancy, a PR firm commissioned (at what expense I know not) by the National Skills Academy for Social Care that would, according to the label on the tin, redefine leadership in the care sector. I think this ship sank at the end of the launching slipway.

I’m sure most of us will have fond memories of Dame Denise Platt and the CSCI, but does anyone recall that in 2012, she was appointed by the aforementioned CPA as ‘Red Tape Champion’? You won’t lose any marks if you answer honestly and say ‘no’ because, as far as I am aware, we haven’t heard from Dame Denise since the time of her appointment. Mind you, this could be part of a successful drive by the CPA to cut its own bureaucracy.

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4 responses to “Paving stones on the road to Hell”

  1. Martin Green says:

    Dear Geoff

    You are so right to to point out that there have been so many initiatives which have come and gone. I would add to your list the hundreds of millions spent on clinical governance and the endless initiatives around training and integration that we’ve seen over the years.

    In relation to the red tape challenge, Dame Denise Platt did a huge amount of work on this and was a very powerful advocate for the care sector and the need to reduce duplication. There was certainly no fault in Dame Denise’s rigor, the problem has been the inertia in the Department of Health and other arms of government, who did not follow through the recommendations.

    The Care Providers Alliance is alive and well, though we tend to act very much as the sector body group, and that is probably why you haven’t heard much from us. However, rest assured, we are working with common purpose to navigate our way through the challenges of austerities and to advocate for a strong and dynamic care sector.

  2. The irony is that the IT communications revolution has brought more ‘white noise’ and causing less transparency within democratic processes, so leading to such things as Brexit.

  3. John Burton says:

    Yes, ‘world class commissioning’ is one of the worst in a huge pile of gobbledegook (and that’s a polite word for it) being added to all the time. The DoH and all its obsequious dependants such as CQC, SfC, SCIE, TLAP and so on make a fetish of all these meaningless words and phrases, and nearly everyone goes along with them. This is where a lot of the money goes instead of being put into real care. And, of course, all this stuff costs time and money for no good result. Talk about “evidence based practice”!
    When I – now very rarely – go to conferences and “shows”, they all seem to be about this rubbish. The same people and organisations, paid high salaries and supported by profit-making companies, all talking to each other and foisting their vacuous initiatives on thousands of people who are trying to get on with the job.
    All of them should work as care staff for three months, as a senior care worker or nurse for another three, and then see if they can manage a care home. That might teach some of them to stop talking rubbish and to support social care instead of wrecking it.

  4. Bob Ferguson says:

    John’s charge sheet is pretty comprehensive – only the Archbishop of Canterbury seems to be missing. The general tenor of his comment reminds me of a character from a wartime radio comedy who tried to explain away her constant carping with the catch-phrase (remember them?): “It’s being so cheerful as keeps me going.” The character’s name was Mona Lott!


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