There may be a ‘crisis in care’ but communities are showing how to tackle it

By Rhys Davies

When I sat for the early screening of BBC Panorama’s “Crisis in Care” two-part documentary I have to admit to being more than a little nervous.

For 10 months BBC reporter Alison Holt and crew were given permission to film all aspects of Somerset’s strained care system. As the coordinator of the Micro-enterprise Programme, responsible for supporting the development of small, care and support providers in Somerset my nerves centered on how Somerset’s growing number of ‘micro-providers’ would be portrayed. The narrative could easily have been simplified to focus on regulation and the fact that many micro-providers are not eligible for registration with the care regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Thankfully in the weeks and months of filming the BBC saw firsthand the dedication, professionalism and increasingly essential role micro-providers play in Somerset’s care system. In the second of the two documentaries, to be aired next Wednesday, the team follow a ‘day in the life’ of Jill Kemp who speaks powerfully about the difference being a micro-provider has made, not only to the people she supports but importantly her own value in her community.

The whole documentary is very powerful and highlights the reality for many families, councils and frontline workers face trying to do their best with limited resources. Whilst I had no reason to be nervous, it is with slight regret that the documentary focuses almost solely on the negatives, the financial, bureaucratic and social problems which have left families disconnected with increased dependency on social care and health systems.

My day to day work shows me that despite all the genuine negatives there are hugely positive forces at work. People and communities working together to solve problems and create real magic.

Despite the major focus on funding within the Panorama programme I know that the answer to the challenges we face is not just more funding for councils. It is as much about creating conditions where people can connect better with each other and be given the tools, confidence and permission to create their own local solutions. With real leadership from the council and strong local partnerships Jill Kemp and Somerset’s 400+ community enterprise leaders are leading the way – watch Panorama next week if you fancy a bit of inspiration.

Rhys Davies

Micro-enterprise Catalyst – Somerset



1 Comment

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  1. In my research into communications within Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships and similar systems, it has become apparent that there is an important component that is absent; a common platform where employees from all constituent partners can raise important issues, issues that affect the efficiency of the partnership. While staff of NHS Trusts may have a number of different platforms, some more effective than others, information may not be shared with other partners. Worse, local Government employees and staff of social-care providers frequently have no suitable platform for raising concerns.

    Surely, if we are determined in “creating conditions where people can connect better with each other and be given the tools, confidence and permission to create their own local solutions.” then we must first provide the platform, a common communications platform where every employee in every constituent partner can share their observations, concerns and innovations.


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