Things can only get better. Can’t they?
Councils are being bombarded with helpful hints for improving their relationships with providers. So why isn’t it happening, asks BOB FERGUSON
Sector leaders emerged from this summer’s high-powered huddle with care services minister Ivan Lewis exhilarated by his emphasis on the need for providers to be closely involved in the planning of local services. This, they believed, could foreshadow the sort of “adult relationships” with council commissioners that they have long hankered after. Without wishing to rain on their parade, it must be pointed out that the same note has already been hummed by a number of the minister’s predecessors – without conspicuous success.
Rhetoric is cheap, and greater significance attaches to expectations which have been committed to paper. Mind you, their track record is no more encouraging. The directions used to usher in the 1993 community care reforms should have galvanised councils to embed the participation principle. Only they didn’t. Then in 2001, the landmark agreement “Building Capacity and Partnership in Care” (BCPC) filled in the contextual detail, parti