Monday, 1 November 2010

What is Cultural Decision Making?

Everyone, at some point in their lives, has been the victim of administrative decision making that did not meet their needs. In fact, being on the receiving end of administrative decision making can sometimes cause blood pressure to rise and language to turn blue. In my last post, I described the idea of cultural vs administrative decision making.

So, what does cultural decision making in action look like? Here in the UK, are two fine examples. The director of NAAPS, Alex Fox, was a friend when he was Director of Policy at the Princess Royal Trust for Carers, but now he is making even bigger waves as Executive Director of NAAPS. In this year's Queen's Honours list was Sian Lockwood, the Exec. Director of Community Catalysts. Why are they examples to all of excellence in cultural decision making? Read on.

Who are NAAPS and Community Catalysts?

NAAPS has three kinds of member:

  • Shared Lives is where a family is paid a modest amount to include an isolated or under-supported older or disabled person in their family and community life. In many cases an isolated disabled or older person becomes a permanent part of a supportive family. There are around 10,000 SL carers in the UK, of which 3,800 are NAAPS members.
  • Homeshare is small in the UK but significant in other countries. Someone who needs support to continue to live independently in their own home is matched with someone who lacks housing and they trade housing for low-level support. It often works inter-generationally, with matches benefiting a younger and an older person.
  • Thousands of new micro-enterprises and mutuals are establishing new services based on the needs of an individual or small group of older or disabled people. Some are voluntary; others funded through personal budgets or people’s own money. Some of these entrepreneurs are ex front-line workers or disabled and older people themselves.

Micro-enterprises cover a wide range of services. Barbara personally delivers the first two weeks of home support to the older people who use her micro-scale domiciliary care agency, so that she can genuinely understand their needs and match them with the right staff member. With help from her family and her personal budget, Jenny set up DanceSyndrome as an enterprise delivering dance activities to disabled and non-disabled people alike.

Our social enterprise, Community Catalysts, is bringing our values and messages to new audiences, through managing micro-enterprise support agencies for four local authorities (Nottinghamshire, Nottingham City, Dudley, Oldham) and supporting eleven others to set up their own support agency. Other customers include an education trust, MacIntyre, two health boards, a housing association and a prison. www.communitycatalysts.co.uk

The UK and Canada are heading for cuts to social care. The challenge to policy makers will be to seek models of good practice that at first glance, defy odds by combining forces across sectors and ministries where common objectives can be found. Flexibility with respect to every aspect of planning and execution of public programmes will be necessary and cultural decision making is a must.

Looking at international models of good practice is a good place to start and NAAPS/Community Catalysts is one great model.
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