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Managers, policies and story-telling

Andy Howes, Educational Support and Inclusion, Faculty of Education, University of Manchester

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The effective management of learning disability services is sometimes seen as a separate issue from the ideals of rights, independence, choice and inclusion embodied in a policy like 'Valuing People'. In practice though, the day-to-day decisions made by managers at all levels have a major effect on how such a policy is implemented.

A third-year module on the management of change, part of the BA in Learning Disability Studies at the University of Manchester, aims to help students to work through the connections between values and practice, starting from their own experience of managing and being managed. The course gives particular attention to different ways of thinking about policy. Is policy something handed down to be followed slavishly? An unrealistic set of expectations to be dealt with as swiftly as possible? Or a set of opportunities to be grasped in changing the system for the better?

This session will focus on a story-telling activity within the course. This activity was designed to highlight the influence of policy on practice, and the need for managers to consider carefully the opportunities that policy provides, in the light of the commitments and values seen to be important. It is hoped that the session will stimulate others to tell more stories on this subject.

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