POLICY NETWORKS ARE an absolutely critical part of the ADASS infrastructure. None of us can be an expert on everything, but all of us have one or two areas we have a particular passion for. That's where the policy networks come in. For the individual they can be a great opportunity to influence the adult social care agenda  For ADASS they are a great opportunity to benefit from your expertise. 

At particular times of challenge the policy networks have really come into their own. Without the learning disability network we would never have been able to respond effectively to Winterbourne View. And the depth of our engagement with the Department of Health over the implementation of the Care Act would never have been possible without the engagement of the networks in all the different policy strands. 

A more recent example is the DoLS crisis since the Cheshire West Supreme Court judgement. This is a very technical subject to which ADASS would have really struggled to respond without a fabulous DoLS lead within the mental health network

Equally, for example,  the work of the safeguarding network on making safeguarding personal or the resources network on costing the Care Act can have had a huge impact on social care practice on the ground. Many network members also play a vital role in providing the media with up to date views and opinions within their network’s field of play.

At the same they can be a great resource for ADASS members old and new. A place to go to get advice on something or to get hold of the latest policy resource. Some of this information can already be accessed through the policy network pages on the ADASS website but this will be considerably enhanced as we develop our website and a much more comprehensive resource for the digital age. 

And volunteering to join a network or even take on a joint chairing role can be a great way of supporting your development. It will give you a chance to work nationally, to find out what is happening in other places, to build contacts with the Department of Health and other bodies like NICE and CQC

That doesn't mean we always expect you to agree with everything that the ADASS president or the ADASS networks say. But next time you are reading something or listening to the radio and disagree with what is said or want to add your own perspective, get involved. Help us to use your expertise to support the adult social care agenda. 

Sarah Norman
ADASS Policy Lead