Promoting Self Direction [PDF]

Promoting Self Directed Support 
Reflections on in Control

John O’Brien & David Towell


We write as critical friends, invited by in Control’s leadership to facili- tate reflection on the learning emerging from their work and to contrib- ute some of our observations to this report. In Control’s commitment to discovering effective ways to support people eligible for social care in ways that protect and promote their full citizenship matches our own convictions. Self-Directed Support – the means that the in Control network are developing to reform the social care system – seem to us a robust and creative response to many of the challenges facing the government of a society that aims to improve the chances of people who require publicly funded assistance to lead their daily lives in the way they want.

We each view in Control from different perspectives. David works primarily in an English and European context as a policy advisor and facilitator of system change. John, a student of innovation in supports to people with disabilities and their families, has been a regular visitor from the US for nearly 30 years. Our occasional collaboration began in the early 1980’s, when David led the initiative, An Ordinary Life, for the King’s Fund – a network that shaped the development of commu- nity supports for people with learning disabilities. In the past year, we have facilitated three reflection days that have brought together some of in Control’s core staff, leaders in local implementation, and leaders in national policy and civil society. This chapter is based on what we have learned from thinking about these conversations, talking further with some of those involved in the change, and reading some of the extensive documentation of in Control’s activities available at www.

In Control as social acupuncture 2
Both practical and moral foundations for deep change 4
What has worked for people? 4
What is right 5
What is likely to transform social care? 9
Learning from history 9
Multiple strategies 10
What form of organisation will facilitate deep change? 13
A distinctive structure 13
Weaving into others’ webs 14
Strong metaphors for organising 16 
Looking forward 19