Another day, another Smith Square debate.
Last night’s debate asked: if local government was to deliver the social care reform needed was it time for the Chancellor to show us the money?
It was fascinating that the panel clearly identified that the issues facing social care reform extended way beyond funding and affordability. Societal change decisively emerged as just an important challenge to address. The role of the family and the community needed to be fully incorporated into future plans – what were the main factors that prevented those in need of care to reach out to friends, families and neighbours? Relocation, family breakdown, divorce?
Of particular interest to me was the acknowledgement of the role social media has to play. Firstly, as a way to shape and amplify the volume on the conversations already happening around social care reform. Secondly, as a vital tool to address the very real isolation and loneliness that many carers and indeed those who receive care are subjected to everyday. Finally, as a way to provide information on key areas such as access to care, what benefits people are entitled to and crucially, financial planning advice.
The evening was chaired by Andrea Sutcliffe @Crouchendtiger7 and at the end of the evening she asked each of the panellists: Richard Humphries @RichardatKF, Naomi Snell, Head, Local Authority Development, Partnership (not on Twitter!!), Samantha Callan @SamanthaJCallan, and Councillor David Rogers @cllrdrogers, to come up with the Twitter hashtag they would use to sum up the evening. Their suggestions were::
#fixthebucket (reference to a leaky bucket metaphor used throughout the debate!)
The LGA also used the debate as an opportunity to get people signed up to its Show us you care campaign, which is calling for certainty, stability and appropriate funding for the social care system. Its hashtag (if you’re not suffering from #### fatigue) is #lgcares.
I have also done a word cloud for last night based on tweets and the LGA's public affairs briefing.
Next week’s debate is Local government finance – Who is really paying the price? And just in case you haven’t had enough of hashtags; you can follow all the Smith Square debates on #lgadebates.