Last evening, I attended a meeting at Portcullis House in Westminster with Stephen O'Brien, MP for Eddisbury in Cheshire and Shadow Health Minister. With me were my opposite number Social Services Cabinet Members from Surrey, Oxfordshire, East and West Sussex and Hampshire.
It was an interesting and productive meeting, and we gained a valuable insight into the direction of travel of Conservative social care policy. We asked for the meeting since our group, SECASC - South East Councils Adult Social Care - represents the adult social services of all the south east counties, and we wanted to see how we could work alongside our Parliamentarians to shape the future agenda.
Stephen was generous with his time and consummately professional. We discussed safeguarding, learning disability funding and transfer, VAT legislation, dementia and the personalisation agenda. Whilst the detail of our joint work is clearly politically sensitive, we all felt there was a clear forward direction, and understand the constructive role local government in general - and our group in particular - can play. Stephen observed that we were "at the sharp end of the biggest issue in politics". Let's hope our joint work can start to make a real difference.