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By Debbie le Quesne

Don’t underestimate the power of our voices

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The power of a consistent, persuasive argument knows no bounds and history teaches us that both good and chaotic outcomes can result.

I’d very much like to think that only good can come the work the West Midlands Association does as we lobby, persuade and persevere to improve care and establish rates of pay for it that are at least realistic.

An article I read, of all things, about the government’s care bill, heartened me.

During the last months MPS, peers and their advisors have been shaping the new legislation. It is now in its final Parliamentary stage, but it’s certainly a very different proposal today than when it was first tabled.

Why? Because of the power of persuasive argument and the good work, not least by the Care and Support Alliance, which represents more than 70 charities.

The Alliance persuaded ministers that advocacy needed enshrining in the bill. How could this have been missed by the legal minds that drew the proposals?

An appeals mechanism was also omitted and this too was addressed, among others, by the Alliance. The new draft now has this clause included.

It just goes to show how we can make a difference when we act corporately. I am ever haunted by Sir Digby Jones’s words at a care conference with the association many years ago.

He described us as being “fragmented” and “without a voice in the corridors of power.”

I’d like to think that is changing. Let’s change it some more please.

Writing in the Independent, Andy Kaye, head of policy and campaigns at Independent Age, observes: “Independent Age will continue to play its part in campaigning for a better settlement on funding care. The residential care sector is seriously underfunded, perhaps by £700m.”

I knew we were under-funded, but £700m!

Kaye also sounds a warning: “And those of us concerned about creating a better system from 2015 must now turn our attention to regulations and guidance, which local authorities will look to as the real guide for making improvements in care and support. Unless we get these important bits of guidance right, the fine aspirations set out in the care bill will soon ring hollow.”

Undeniably we have a part to play.

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