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The Standards We Expect

Jennie Fleming, De Montfort University
Co-author(s): Peter Beresford, Centre for Citizen Participation, Brunel University; Catherine Bewley, Values Into Action; Fran Branfield, Shaping Our Lives; Suzy Croft, social work practitioner; Kiran Dattani Pitt, Values Into Action; Jennie Fleming, Centre for Socia


The Standards We Expect project examined the barriers to person centred support and ways in which they may be overcome. The project's lead organisation is Shaping Our Lives, the national service user network. The research and development project centred solutions in eight partner areas across England and Scotland. It was a 30 month project funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The research project specifically concentrates on the views and opinions of service users and front line workers, two groups who continue to be marginalised in research. Bringing together these three constituencies was both original and significant in seeking innovative, shared solutions to the challenges faced by social care services in the twenty-first century.

We will present some of the interim findings of the project that were explored at our Get Together in 2007. These interim findings include:

  • The basic human rights of service users are frequently not being met. Some people are stopped from making choices about what they do or where they live.
  • The culture and core values of a service play a big part in determining whether it is genuinely person centred.
  • Attempts to bring about change in services are still very 'top down'. Ways need to be found to make changes based on the ideas of service users and practitioners.
  • Changes take time to develop. Attempts to bring about change need to be long term.
  • Lack of money is a big barrier. The people who control funding have a big say over how person centred a service is.
  • Many staff are very committed to person centred support, however inadequate working conditions and pay are a major barrier to person centred support.
  • Organisational change in services and turnover in staff are barriers in the way of moving to more person centred support.

The lead organisation on the research project was Shaping Our Lives, however it was a collaborative project with service users, practitioners and academics working in partnership together. It provides the knowledge base for improvement as well as a force for change.

The Standards We Expect website

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