Back to all news

Our October Newsletter is out!

This month we’re talking about the complementary nature of services.

  • Publication of new book exploring Local Area Coordination
  • Upcoming event: What is Local Area Coordination
  • The Big Conversation
  • and more…

A note from Nick

Building Blocks of Better: Complementary Nature of Services

Hello and thanks for pausing for a moment to take a look at our latest Newsletter full as always with lots of interesting resources and updates about our work. Big thanks as always to Rachel Tait for compiling it so beautifully.

As you’ll see the exciting news this month is all about the Local Area Coordination book (Power and Connection) authored by Ralph Broad and Eddie Bartnik finally being released for sale. Our Network is so proud of the contributions we’ve made to this brilliant piece of work which brings up to date 30 years of learning since Local Area Coordination first began. We can’t wait to see where it takes us next. You can read more about it in the body of the newsletter which contains invites to upcoming webinars we’d love to see you at.

In our continued celebration and reflection of the 10 principles of Local Area Coordination, we turn this month to the one of ‘complementary nature of services’ where we say services should support and complement the role of individuals, families and communities in supporting people to achieve their aspirations for a good life.”

This is the one that Local Area Coordinators often tell me is “a bit of a head scratcher” and I do get that. The powerful message in this principle is quite nuanced, but it is nonetheless fundamentally profound. It essentially says that if we need to draw upon external support (services) in our lives, that support should build on the valued roles and aspirations we hold as well as recognising the roles of our loved ones and wider networks around us too. Tragically, so often this isn’t the case as we see with the social care crisis unfolding around us at this very moment. In times like these, there is always a reactive focus on “meeting demand”, “efficiencies” and “delivery” rather than capacity building and relationships. The fullness of a person’s life, their hopes, dreams, skills and aspirations, often never understood, forgotten or overlooked in the melee.

At our conference last year, Jessica Studdert from New Local helped us explore this principle further. As part of her brilliant talk, Jessica remarked “what public services need to be able to do is exactly this principle [the complementary nature of services] and be much more capable of leveraging people’s insights into their own situation. It is not desirable or sustainable for the state to always do it or services to do it on our behalf, and it is not going to be sustainable into the future.”

Jessica’s point here really resonates with us because it is exactly what Local Area Coordination seeks to grapple with at all levels. Our approach sets out to build long term capacity at the person, family, community and service system levels as a result of working to principles, good design, thinking in the whole, collaboration and proportionate investment.

There is no doubt that we are facing some acute pressures and crises as a country right now, but does that mean that we can only focus on that? Surely there is space for addressing immediate concerns around our services AND recognising that they must complement the valued roles and aspirations people drawing upon them hold?

Thank you,
Nick Sinclair