3 years since I bothered my arse to write a blog. I've drafted a few, then got bored, or got tangled up with a misguided view that song titles have all of the answers, the title of this blog is an obscure Paul Brady song, about immigrants, outsiders, there's a YouTube link at the end, so please stick with it.
If you want to get to the best bit of this blog straight away, go to the last YouTube link, and scroll along to 4 mins 20 and you'll see Van Morrison doing what can only be described as 'high kicks' whilst wearing a burgundy, sparkling play suit.
Anyway, I've always thought I was the kind of person who had the possibility, with allies, to transform care. Then the government set up a whole programme called Transforming Care, so I put my feet up and relaxed. No need for me. 'Sit back and polish your arrogance,' I said to myself.
Then I got dragged in, and NOTHING MUCH HAS CHANGED. Not even a little bit, then I remembered that during the sultry heat of 'Putting People First' we were meant to have undergone a Total Transformation...I honestly mean no disrespect to people who have been working tirelessly to transform things, you will be, and have been much better at it than me.
In my defence, let me remind you I have spent considerable time polishing my arrogance.
Anyway, I've started working with people in Assessment and Treatment Units - doing good old fashioned PERSONCENTREDPLANNINGINDIVIDUALSERVICEDESIGNLIFEPLANNINGINDIVIDUALLIFEPLANNINGPOSITIVELIFEPLANNINGBEHAVIOURPOSITIVESUPPORTPCPILDISDPBS. That sort of thing.
Listening deeply, searching for capacities, seeking connections and not taking 'no' for an answer. So here's the punchline, while working with a young woman who wanted to live by herself because she's sick of sharing and wants to try and make a go of turning her talent for upcyling into a small business. Wants to TRY. Not be the Chief Executive of a FTSE 100 upcyling empire, just try and sell a few tables, see where that goes.
At her CTR (I can't be bothered to remember what that stands for) we were all informed that she had done some 'Therapeutic' work on the ward around 'Setting Realistic Goals' the attendees nodded sagely, 'ooh that's good' 'yeah lower your sights' 'you don't want people like that Tim raising your expectations' I've since heard the 'setting realistic goals' therapy a couple of times, so it must be real, to my shame I haven't challenged it, I said I was arrogant - not effective.
Yeah, that Tim, gently encouraging people to have small dreams for an ordinary life. It was the same old story when I first started doing this work, and probably the same for people doing it long before me... 'all you are doing with that Person Centred Planning is raising expectations' what a great and necessary role, raising expectations. Encouraging the 'outsiders' to expect the same as we all take for granted. The cartoon accompanying this incoherent drivel is an update of an original I made in 2001, when Valuing People came along and I stood accused of 'raising expectations'. Well here I stand again...wearing my badge with pride.
As Eleanor Roosevelt probably once said, 'Aim for the shit, even if you miss you'll land among the shit'
For my next Tale from Serviceland, in about 3 years time, I'll write some drivel about a really funny cartoon I did about a caravan, safe in the knowledge that people don't read the words, they just steal the pictures...if only I could think of a song title.
Tuesday, 17 July 2018
Friday, 20 November 2015
I've just come back from the Housing and Support Alliance Conference, amazing, inspiring, brutal...
I reacquainted myself with some great people and met some new ones. I drunkenly met Sara Ryan, was lost for words, and wine wasn't the reason. I vaguely remember saying that I try to make things funny. It's not funny. Not for the dudes.
Anyway here's the tale...
I was recently dismissed by a Social Worker in one branch of a local authority as 'not being a professional' (while doing some canny work in another branch of the same authority.) I was slightly piqued and almost fired off a big-headed email in which the subject heading may have read, 'Do You Know Who I Am?' Like a '90s boy band member trying to jump the queue at a seedy nightclub. Then I began musing about 'professionalism' and how people and families are dismissed with much harsher consequences than a slight prick to their over inflated ego.
The backdrop of all of this is another of the appalling story of a young man abandoned in an ATU. While the 'professionals' argue about who pays, solicitors piss about not sharing info with the family, the hospital makes the young man's emotional and physical health worse, social services departments in two areas of the UK do either nothing or precious little, both at the pace of a sloth hitching a lift on a snail. The DoH sends in a team and no lives appear to improve.
In the middle of it is a young man and his family, lost in the system, desperate, drowning in reports, advice and professionalism.
I'm glad people don't think I'm a professional, you could train a pig to be a professional in these situations, and it wouldn't be a long course of study. I remember a quote, "don't wrestle pigs, you'll get all muddy and the pigs will love it." I think we are pig wrestling on a grand scale and it isn't the professionals getting muddy.
I'm having a bit of a struggle at the moment, I cant remember a time in my 'non professional' career when I've felt so powerless professionally or politically. I've always felt I was on some kind of crusade...now I think I'm just bringing home the bacon.
The conference fired me up though, not to back down, to 'fuck the label' to not accept the cuts, to stop the shit holes.
And it WAS funny especially the uvavu bit...
Disclaimer. I'm not describing anyone as a pig. It is a metaphor or a simile or a split infinitive or summat like that. I also stand by my long held view that professionals are usually really good, and try really hard. They are great tireless workers struggling in a pretty broken system. You do unearth the odd truffle...
Wednesday, 10 December 2014
I mulled over the Bubb report, and made this picture quickly after reading it - planning some incisive, ascerbic post. Then I read other people's posts and realised I haven't really got anything to add......perhaps my contribution is a couple of silly pictures......
Thursday, 20 March 2014
I sometimes feel really bad writing this, like I'm some kind of dinosaur who 'resists' change, who fails to rise to the challenge and see the destruction of local services as an opportunity for communities to rise again. I think I might be a dinosaur. Never mind.
What I think is that state bad - communities good is a bit of a pointless argument. There's just us. And I reckon if I knocked on my neighbour and asked him to help me in the bath - we'd have a pretty frosty relationship - rather than the really good one we have built over the years, reciprocating tasks exchanging gifts and chatting so long I'm sometimes late for work. So if I want a different type of support than that which I'd want my neighbour, family, friends to do - I think tax in and support for those who need it out is not a bad deal in theory. And at the moment there's just us as citizens, residents, tax payers, and local government employees to figure that out.
I think what I'm arguing here for is a reminder to local government workers that they are just US. And therefore we can all face a bit of honesty, and don't need to be deflected by a party line.
The picture above is TRUE! The phrase used was GOING FORWARD WITH A REDUCED FINANCIAL ENVELOPE.
A reduced what?
I think I wrote one of these about Partnership Board Bingo. There is another game called 'Going Forward Bingo'
Here are the rules;
1 Count how many times a presenter says 'Going Forward'
2 Gnaw your own legs off.
There's probably a technical term for cunningly using language to cleanse it of any real meaning - but for the moment 'Bullshit' will do - surely everyone is aware of the attack on the safety net which we all, at any time, may come to rely on. Even that has been 'bullshitted' into Austerity.
MORE, CHEAPER, BETTER is my new cry - just so people don't think I'm a dinosaur.
Next time who knows, see what happens.....
Friday, 6 December 2013
Necessity is the mother of invention?
Here we go again. I've heard a few people say recently that hard times force us to innovate. There's truth in that - but hard times also tempt us to turn on each other. I've heard people say, "it's not fair, we need to bring the learning disability spend in line with older people" - yeah go on there's progress...look how shit it is over there, let's make this as shit as that!
For years people have been talking of people's gifts and building stronger communities - in times of plenty those conversations were sometimes ignored.
Now times are tough and the voices who largely ignored the 'community' call are couching the vicious cuts in the language of opportunity.
Technology to assist people to take control is being used to justify the cuts. Dressed up in 'assistive' language. We are clothing cuts in the language of plenty.
Not so much 'Emperor's New Clothes' more 'Emperor's Weekend Underpants' - you know the one's that you only use in an emergency...saggy elastic, washed out colour, perhaps a little hole starting, even perhaps some mysterious stains......everybody's got a pair.
I'm going to carry my emergency underpants around with me - and whenever anyone disguises a cut with bullshit - I'm going to put them on my head.
I urge you to do the same. A movement. We've got to do something. Underpants is as good a place to start as any.
I know that the my use of 'emperor's new clothes' doesn't really fit this situation - but I can't think clearly with these underpants on my head....
Tuesday, 19 November 2013
The cartoon above is pretty close to a current reality - the names have been omitted to protect the innocent.
Only in Serviceland could people's clearly stated - and well planned wishes be so absurdly skewed.
It's not often I can't see a way forward, OK I might moan and whinge for a bit but I usually find a way. And I'm sure a way will open up - right now it feels like 'Everything is Broken'
The Housing and Support Alliance Conference this week should give me a fix.....
Bob Dylan always does it - even when it's unremittingly negative!
"Broken lines, broken strings.
Broken threads, broken springs.
Broken idols, broken heads.
People sleeping in broken beds.
Ain't no use jiving.
Ain't no use joking.
Everything is broken.
Broken bottles, broken plates.
Broken switches, broken gates.
Broken dishes, broken parts.
Streets are filled with broken hearts.
Broken words never meant to be spoken,
Everything is broken.
Seems like every time you stop and turn around,
Something else just hits the ground.
Broken cutters, broken saws.
Broken buckles, broken laws.
Broken bodies, broken bones.
Broken voices on broken phones.
Take a deep breath feels like you're chokin'
Everything is broken.
Everytime you leave and go off someplace,
Things fall to pieces in my face.
Broken hands on broken ploughs.
Broken treaties, broken vows.
Broken pipes, broken tools.
People bending broken rules.
Hound dog howling bullfrog croaking
Everything is broken."
Friday, 4 October 2013
I think this cartoon was one of Mark (The Shadow Cutter) Conlin's, I'm sure he won't mind me using it. We made them in spare moments at Skills for People years ago.
At a time when cuts are very much with us, but with some more than others, these cartoons seem even more scary. When resources seem scarce there's a tendency to draw more people into the decisions about how to spend those scarce resources. Panels we call them.
I used to play Partnership Board Bingo - going around the room and estimating people's salary (including my own) - creating a rough hourly rate then adding it all up, adding some complex algorithms to account for travel and preparation time, factoring in the percentages of heating bills and pondering how much of a percentage of the mayor's car to add in so I could come up with a fairly accurate cost of the Partnership Board.
The answer was a lot.
Try it at the next meeting you are at.
Just try not to shout HOUSE.
There's a different panel for them.