Saturday, October 20, 2007

Kent - a shining example

Just back from three days in Bournemouth, and the annual Social Services Conference. It was a great chance to catch up with colleagues from Social Service departments in local government around the country, we all seem to share a common set of problems - escalating demand, rising expectations, and reducing government funding.

I was lucky to be invited to a breakfast meeting with Ivan Lewis, the Government Minister responsible for Social Care. Along with some fifteen others from around the country, we had a robust discussion for an hour or so. I made the point that if government shared some of their "big ideas" with councils, we could make provision in our budgets, rather than having things such as Direct Payments and individual Budgets 'sprung' on us.

After the meeting, I caught Mr Lewis on his own, and asked if I could bring him down to Kent to see how we're coping for himself. He readily agreed, telling me how he had "heard very good things about Kent".

Time will tell whether his "aides" will let him over our borders.

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