April 29th 2019

After a long winter of hard work spring has finally started to shine on us, just in time to welcome the ADASS Spring Seminar. This year will be the 6th seminar to welcome more than 300 delegates to the Yarnfield Conference Centre in Stafford, and we are pleased to say that this year we are nearly at capacity. We would like to thank all those who have volunteered their time to make the Spring Seminar a reality, facilitating and delivering presentations, workshops and meetings, and ensuring a wide ranging and high quality programme to engage and challenge all delegates.

The morning of day one was spent dealing with formal ADASS business before Glen Garrod, ADASS President, officially opened the conference after lunch, welcoming delegates and thanking sponsors whose support enables the conference to take place.

The first session was opened by Clenton Farquharson’s heartfelt stories of social care in practice. He highlighted the need to place relationships and empathy first in social care, and avoid getting lost in bureaucracy and impersonal transactions. Emily Holzhausen, Carers UK, reminded us how social care affects family life, and how technology can be a great friend to service providers and to those people who receive support. Tricia Pereira and Beverly Latania, Principal Social Worker of Lewisham and Newham respectively, told the story of the care that  social workers want to see. Alan Eccles, Office of the Public Guardian, introduced us to the new Safeguarding Strategy currently being trialled by the OPG. All speakers explored a very daunting question: the social care of the future, the social care that we want.

The second session provided an insight into why sustainable adult social care is more about than just money. Contributions from professor John Bolton, Institute for Public Care, and Paul  Burstow, SCiE, highlighted the disconnect between the value of social care and levels of public satisfaction with services. Richard Enderby, MHCLG, told the story of a system bound by external funding and unable to make long-term financial and business plans. Anna Quigley, Ipsos Mori, highlighted data that showed a deep misunderstanding amongst the public about who pays for social care and who delivers it, with a lot of people assuming the state pay for the former and the NHS supply the latter.

The Shadow Minister for Social Care and Mental Health, Barbara Keeley, joined us for our third session. She reiterated commitments made by the Labour Party on adult social care late last week. She emphasised the party is keen to ensure that, in the short-term, there is significant financial support for adult social care to place it on a sustainable footing, while focusing on ensuring that sustainable and lasting change is initiated. She noted that a better financial support for adult social care is pivotal to achieve the quality of care desired, and to support a workforce that cares but doesn’t have the resources to operate properly.

The fourth session explored ways to create sustainable and long standing health and care systems. Professor James Kingsland, Primary Care UK, Professor Martin Marshall, Healthcare Improvements at UCL, and Cath Roff (Leeds City Council) all explored how health and social care can work together to improve population health. This included discussions on primary care home, integrating care partnerships, bettering cross-organisation communications and improving workforce quality. Simon Stevens, Chief Executive Officer of NHS England, joined the Spring Seminar’s final session. He continued the conversation on sustainable health and care systems, engaging all our delegates in a challenging debate and 

In between sessions, we enjoyed chatting the day away and discovering more of the work that our sponsors are carrying forward. At dinner, Glen Garrod formally handed the presidency over to Julie Ogley, an emotional moment that touched all people present. The evening continued with a pub quiz masterfully organised by ICS, and won by the Yorkshire Terriers.

After a first successful day, we are very much looking forward to the Seminar’s second, with a first for the Spring Seminar: workshops organised by our own nine regions. Stay tuned.