Charter for Involvement– National Involvement Network
Paddy Carstairs, Development Worker, ARC Scotland
The National Involvement Network (NIN) is an influential network of over 80 people who use social care services. This group has been meeting since 2007 in order to bring about more choice and control within the lives of supported people and enable the voices of supported people to contribute to the decisions made about their services and communities. Alan Mackenzie currently supports the NIN as chairperson whilst Brian Robertson assists as vice - chairperson. In the last couple of years a number of local involvement networks have also been established in order to make participation more accessible for others.
To help achieve their aim, NIN members wrote the ‘Charter for Involvement,’ published in 2015. This charter contains 12 statements which were written to improve involvement for supported persons. The Charter also sets out how these statements should be put into practice. The main aim of the Charter is to ensure people who require support are respected and listened to more frequently.
So far, a total of 71 organisations have ‘signed up’ to the Charter for Involvement. This means their Chief Executive, Board of Trustees or senior officer, has made a formal commitment on behalf of each organisation towards putting the Charter statements into practice. These include health and social care partnerships, social care provider organisations of all sizes, advocacy and advice agencies, national bodies and a further education college. Scottish Autism was an early signatory. With the help of ARC Scotland, NIN members remain in contact with these organisations in order to provide support and guidance and promote examples of the differences that the NIN is making within supported people’s lives.
The work supported by the NIN is a concrete and visible example of an asset-based model of care and support from which others can follow, learn from and be inspired by. It already directly benefits many thousands of supported people across Scotland. Organisations that use the Charter told us in March 2018 that the lives of at least 10,600 supported people have been improved as a result of engagement with the Charter. Outcomes include improved choice and control, confidence, engagement with activities, increased quality of life, and reduced isolation. NIN members have set a target of 100 organisations signing up to the Charter by 2021.
Of particular importance to their success has been the willingness of NIN members to directly communicate to others what the Charter means to them, the difference it has made to their lives and how the Charter can help others.
This work is underpinned and driven by the values and principles of choice and control and provides a unique resource to inform, understand and promote these essential principles from the perspective of supported people. For example, one person told us:
“The Charter means I have got my choices. It means I can pick my own staff. When I pick my own staff I know who is working with me and I know they can understand me and be there for me. If we didn’t have choices, we wouldn’t be anywhere, people would just run our lives for us.”
The principles and values of the Charter resonate strongly with the work of other policy areas and regulatory frameworks in Scotland, including Fairer Scotland for Disabled People, Self-Directed Support, National Health and Social Care Standards, Keys to Life and the Scottish Strategy for Autism. The difference is that the Charter represents the voice of supported people themselves, describing in their own words how they want to be involved in the things that affect their lives.
Further information about the Charter for Involvement can be found on the ARC Scotland website - https://arcscotland.org.uk/
To download a copy of the Charter go to: https://bit.ly/2Cp0HvP