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An Alternative Social Care Dictionary

October 10, 2014

The other day on the train i eavesdropped two guys entertaining themselves by composing an “alternative” handbook for their business. They found their own ideas hilarious. I had no idea what their work was because the language was beyond me. But it got me thinking.

Yesterday I posted several tweets offering my contribution to an Alternative Social Care Dictionary. It must have struck a chord because I got 78 new followers in 2 hours. It got a fair bit of criticism as well with people commenting that I was too cynical, unfair or didn’t understand some of the things I was writing about. The last point, I felt, proved my point. That most concepts and language in social care is impenetrable. I’ve also learned over time that the actualisation changes around the country. So personalisation in Dunstable is a very different kettle of fish to personalisation in Dudley. Social care doesn’t travel very well.

So sorry if I offend or am talking out of my arse but here is my first compilation (please feel free to add your own):

Service User – a different species to me, possibly not quite human.
Carer – Schmuck.
Person Centred Care – system centred care
Choice – you’ll get what’s offered.
Independence – you’re on your own now.
Working in Partnership – Dont worry, we wont ask you for your views or experience of your loved one.
Placement – a container, usually hundreds of miles from your home.
Inclusion – we’ll take you to watch someone swim at the baths.
Local services – Costas.
Accessing the Community – spending 3 hours in Costas with 4 other people from your supported living flat.
Fairer Charging Policy – Bingo. We can charge them for spending 3 hours in Costas.
Transparency – the mist thickens.
Candour – I’m channelling Pinocchio, or its none of your godamn business.
Assessed Needs – what I think you are like.
Best Interests – our view of what your life should be like.
Therapeutic Intervention – fistfulls of anti psychotic meds.
Positive Behaviour Support – dont be autistic.
Indicative Budget – the Poundland of care packages.
Fairer Access to Care Services – loser.
Commissioning – we cough up for the cheapest support, run a mile and then bunker down in silence.
Resource Allocation System – how we convert your life, beliefs and aspirations into a monetary value.
Day Centre – historic 1970s building, now a block of luxury flats.
Panel – the masonic lodge of the social care world.
Putting People First – after the service, the commissioners, the providers and Uncle Tom Cobbley.
Challenging Behaviour – not being listened to or understood.
One Page Profile – you try writing your autobiography on a postage stamp.
Pooled Budgets – buy one get one free.
Risk Assessment – we can find a reason to stop you doing anything.
Personalisation – Phew, got rid of another annoying statutory duty.
Hubs – Go on, you try and make a pie in the swimming pool.
Community Integration – a walk around the precinct before a Fanta in Burger King.
Care Champion – someone we couldnt make redundant so weve given them a nice badge instead.
Carers Assessment – we’ll waste an hour and a half of your life and have a good chuckle at your raised expectations.
Multi Disciplinary Teams – tea and bickies.
Behaviour Management Plans – how we restrict your personal growth.
Continuing Care Assessments – where we haggle over who foots the bill for your existence.
Circle of Support – how your friends can save us a fortune.
Community Programme – a reminder you will always be on the outside.
Service Provider – a person who has nice holidays in Dubai.
Transition – Shit. They’ve hit puberty. Can we send them to Wales?
Empowerment – dont ever forget, who has the power here.

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From → Social Care

28 Comments
  1. Like the last one!

  2. I laughed out loud, and then realised it was all true. “Oh site…” says she embroiled in continuing care assessments right now.

  3. Lisa permalink

    Hehehe I love this, you are very funny, just brilliant! x

  4. Weary Mother permalink

    Totally Totally accurate.

    A young newly qualified care manager lectured at me the other day! Again.
    It was again of a ‘when did you stop beating your wife’, nature. It took far too long to hear the grudging acknowledgement that I had not (ever) committed this sin, and I actually knew what I was talking about…but we all impotently, wearily and repeatedly wave our experience and learning scars and our (hard books without pictures) library cards……!!! Over and over…………………

    A baby care manager and personalisation and gobbleday gook evangelist …and a really nice person. Dialogue is like batting cotton wool……,

    Hilariously, totally totally accurate ………………………………………..but it is not a bit funny in real life?

  5. Yes, and the sad thing is that I don’t think there are too many LA’s that could seriously deny the truth behind your ‘care dictionary’ although Cambridgeshire County Council keep trying to fob us off with it and they certainly have a hierarchy of high earning staff and consultancy fees to enable them!!

  6. frannie permalink

    I roared with laughter not quite sure why when it is so true.!

  7. Panel – I’m not sure about that one. It either is the illuminati – or the office hamsters. I’m not sure which.

    • The point being – we just don’t know! Is it right that the people making the most important decisions about our lives should be so secret.

      • Exactly! The only concrete fact I have about my panel is – it exists! I have mentioned “transparency” and “openness”, and the ideas that I am supposed to have “choice” and “control” but strangely everyone seems to become hard of hearing right about then – or my communication difficulties become insurmountable.

        OK, I am now going to lie down in a darkened room and take some deep breaths – Or I feel a rant coming on and I don’t need high blood pressure as well!

  8. Think you’ve missed ‘integration’ Mr N, as in health and social care Kings Fund type integration: we’ve passed the buck, not our problem no more!

    • Pauline Thomas permalink

      Not as good as yours Mark but here are two more.

      Safe Guarding Boards – Boards that safeguard the image of LA’s and their commissioned partners.

      CQC – Condoning Questionable Care.

  9. Amanda Elliot permalink

    Fantastic, especially the definition of Empowerment. Trying to think up a an equivalent for SEN – pre adult support. There is a lot of similar jargon floating around the new SEN reforms for 0-25 year olds right now and not a single accessible piece of information available on the new EHC plans for young people or parent-carers. Well done Mark. Another brilliant and illuminating piece

  10. spot on. Can anything be done. Please read my blog finolamoss about the money spent on not caring/abusing my severely autistic daughter.
    Social care makes big bucks for care agencies, independent living units and residential schools often tax free as they are charities ie NAS, and out of are taxes.
    There can be no complaint you control your product and continually create more old disabled and autistic.

    Need is a growth industry all services by zero hour labour,

  11. Brilliant Mark. I know there are a few people who really try and make a difference but sadly they are far outweighed by the numbers if people who dont

  12. julie palmer permalink

    How accurate, how so unbeleivably true but how scary, we know it, they ‘the powers that be’ know it, what shall we do about it?

  13. Weary Mother permalink

    Local Government Ombudsman

    Limp and Gimpy Outcomes

  14. Great stuff mark – can I steal a few for tales from serviceland?

  15. Jan Sunman permalink

    CPA- Confusing Psychiatric Advice?

  16. Amanda B permalink

    Thank you Mark. As someone who has a sister with a learning disability and who works as a social care this explains my frustration with senior management when I say the client does not want this service and I’m told that’s what they are going to get

  17. Sally permalink

    Fantastic!

    How about:

    “Consultative model”-You do it.

    “Focussed agency involvement”-after which you will be cured.

    “Hub” -not a building, more a brochure.

    “Parenting courses”-In which we explain that autism can be sorted with a smiley face chart wielded by someone who has never met anybody with autism, but is jolly nice.

    “Inclusion”-there are no services.Enjoy the World!

    “Team”-inspid collection of poorly qualified sick leave taking wet fish led by one career building manager who all think special needs people are yucky.Names will change weekly.

    “Transition”-In which we explain that there are no services and you’d better get used to it.

    Circle of support” could also be- silly fantasy in which disabled people are miraculously looked after by immortal non paid others forever, enabling disability services to close and go home.Bye!

    • Pauline Thomas permalink

      Good Sally. It rankles that the people who invented these non starters are still being gainfully employed spouting this rubbish to other poor sods just coming out of education and into the murky world of social service provision.

      Another thing, how seriously do we have to take all these hundreds of reports, reviews and research papers on how, why and what should be done to prevent people with learning disability from being abused, stigmatised or just ignored. No one in power takes a blind bit of notice. They just plead poverty Do not worry if some academic has been commissioned to write it then it must have been sorted.

      • Sally permalink

        I agree- don’t they use the model that what is in place is wonderful and does everything you could want for the group-safety, dignity, occupation etc etc? Therefore, if anything goes wrong (Impossible!) it is an exception?

        Terrible at Winterbourne View, nothing to do with us, the idea of outsourcing is still great.Very sad that some despairing parent did something terrible, nothing to do with us, the idea of PIPs is a winner.Your son is depressed? Can’t think how that happened, closing the day centre will have opened up his life.
        The only way I can think of to shake that is to have fail measures on any proposal to do with services for the disabled. We say closing the Day centre will make people lonely, isolated, unhappy. You say it will not. OK. Temporarily close it.Lets agree on some measures, a time period. and an independant person to carry them out. . If you are right, and its been a winner, sell the Day centre as you plan . If we are right, hands off. As you are so sure you are right having the outcome measured before taking the final steps should be no problem!
        Mark, I was wondering if you would consider putting the “Non building based services” quote up to Private Eye for their “Pseuds corporate” section. Please! If they print it you get a tenner-and Hillingdon has an unwelcome light shone..

  18. wearymother permalink

    Adult and Family WELLBEING

    (Just) Another F…ing WORD

    • wearymother permalink

      Sara in her ‘mydaftlife’ blog the other day shared the Nolan Principles; they are the twelve value based principles that all public organisations have signed up to. They include integrity, openness and accountable leadership. All are sensible, visible, deliverable behaviours. For me integrity is an absolute drop it once and you do not have it? All are very visible in absence. The hilariously painful list we have in Mark’s blog here, is what we see and feel and is what we have to deal with before breakfast every day; they are the slippery boggy shitty mountain we have to climb before we start the worrying, caring ……doing…….and doing…

      Mark’s razor accurate black humour is our a ladder for today. But we mainly do it all alone. We the mainly weary, and when we can summon some – angry commentators, know how carefully YOU the powerful and the well paid (by us) …… monitor these blogs. And yet seem to learn so little.

      Can I ask that YOU powerful people who read us but appear not to learn very much,(while probably marking a few cards) look again at the Nolan Principles and hand on heart ask your selves what they look like, in reality, on YOUR patch.

  19. And…. the sickening thing is that this glossary of meaningless terms costs a fortune in man hours, meetings, commissions, lunches etc. and produces absolutely nothing for the people who need it.
    Although I don’t agree with government cuts to LA’s I don’t think it would matter how much money they had they would continue to misuse it while the vulnerable continue to kick around precincts with greasy hair (their choice if they don’t want to wash it!) toes kicked out of their shoes (it’s up to them if they chose not to buy new one’s) and generally look like no one cares! When is Britain going to wake up to this oppressiveness and disgusting negligence of basic human rights!

  20. Nichola permalink

    Sadly, it’s all there in your list – and Pauline’s two additions. I’ll be using a few of these definitions in the on-going battle to protect my sister’s 24-hour support package.

  21. Rachel permalink

    I am enjoying reading your blog and understand your concerns about adult social care; I work with teenagers with severe autism and can see that their future prospects may be very challenging. One organisation I have come across that are fantastic are L’Arche – I don’t know if they have any provision near to where you are, but they provide residential and day care at homes around the country. And they are real homes for the people who live there, rather than just being called that!

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