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Making it personal: making progress?

There's lots going on, isn't there? I don't know about you, but life seems hectic.

Even when you think outside your own world and everything you've got on, the news is full of stories about life for the people in countries where conflict rages, and they must just be battling to get through each day.

Closer to home, there's been the Jubilee celebrations and now the Olympics is about to start in our own backyard. Add to that the great British summer - all of that rain and the damage & chaos it's brought.

The planning that must have gone into putting on a competition of the scale of the Olympics is almost unimaginable.

The stories we've now heard about how some things haven't all gone according to plan does make you wonder about part of their planning process, and fans of the BBC comedy 'Twenty Twelve' will be questioning whether fiction has actually turned into reality, but there must be so many things to take into consideration that we should give them some slack, and a lot of positives have already materialised.

Next week it will all come together. The participants have been training and working so hard for so long to compete in their chosen activity, and this is their chance to hopefully reap the rewards of the hard work. For the spectators, an opportunity to take part in the events and support those involved is also exciting. I know I'm looking forward to cheering on our paralympians in the Aquatics Centre on 5th September.

In our own organisation, and on our personalisation journey, there's a lot going on too.

We've been writing a lot in our blog about the strategic planning we've done over the past 6 months or so to carefully consider how best to roll out our personalisation journey across the whole organisation, taking account of the challenges we face in terms of scale, resources, etc.

However, it feels like we've picked up more pace and momentum, particularly over the past month.

Just as the Olympic Deliverance Committee - sorry, the Organising Committee - get ready to see their plan get implemented, although it's not quite the same as an Opening Ceremony, in the middle of August we're going to be launching a step by step Guide & Toolkit for our 17 regions to roll out our personalisation journey locally.

We don't have as short a timeframe as the Olympic athletes to make this happen, but we are going to be closely monitoring progress over the next four years to make sure we're able to realise our vision and commitment to enable the people we support to have choice and control in their own lives.

We're also not going to be awarding gold, silver and bronze medals, but we are going to be recognising and rewarding staff who best demonstrate our values, including personalisation. For our Inspiring People awards in September, there are some wonderful nominations for individuals or teams who are doing an amazing job to enhance the lives of the people we support, for example:

  • the team in Lincoln who have supported three young people to move into supported living, two of them leaving home for the first time
  • the support worker in Slough who has worked closely with a person we support as they engage in social community activities, such as karaoke, that previously they wouldn't have wanted to do
  • the support worker in Norwich who gets up at 3am to help a person we support to get ready and travel to Birmingham to take part in Council meetings.


At the start of the Olympics, athletes and judges will be taking an oath to confirm that they "take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams."

Last month, over 45 senior managers in our organisation each made their own three pledges as to how they would support and advance our personalisation journey. We've already seen progress being made, and will be encouraging local teams to make similar pledges as they roll things out.

We have also launched our Social Care Charter, which contains five pledges, identified by the people we support as the things that would best enable them to live the life they choose. We are asking everyone, including MPs, to support this charter, ensuring that the needs of people with a learning disability and autism are central to any future reform or commissioning decisions.

So, there is lots going on, but it is positive and it is progress.

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