Following the departure of Kathleen Bessos, Deputy Director, Integration and Reshaping Care Division at the end of April 2015, a new structure for the Directorate is being put in place as we move forward into the implementation of health and social care integration.
Over the next 12 months, local Integration Authorities will come into existence and begin to take on new powers and responsibilities. Our key objective over this period is to support local areas with implementation and provide strategic direction. The following structure has therefore been put in place within the Directorate to support this:
Acting Director of Health and Social Care Integration
Geoff Huggins, Acting Director of Health and Social Care Integration will be supported by two new Deputy Directors:
- Deputy Director – Strategy
Ian Mitchell has been appointed to lead on the strategic components of integration and on social care. This is a key leadership role with responsibility for the governance and strategic direction of the integration programme including liaison with various national bodies and for social care policy in Scotland for adults and older people.
- Deputy Director – Partnerships
This Deputy Director (to be appointed) will be responsible for implementation and will work with and provide support to local health and social care partnerships to secure the outcomes from integration. Alison Taylor, Head of Integration Partnerships will take on this role on an interim basis until the post is filled.
In addition, Gillian Barclay and her team will be reflecting the aim to bring the needs of people with Dementia to the heart of integration and partnership working, moving the Dementia Innovation Team into the directorate delivers a strong signal. The team will be focusing on the delivery of the Scottish Government’s Dementia Strategy and the dementia work funded by the EU.
Spotlight on Ian Mitchell
Deputy Director, Ian Mitchell, has taken on a new role leading on the strategic components of the integration of health and social care.
Ian has undertaken some varied and busy roles within Government, working in Enterprise, Local Government, Public Service Reform, Environment, Regeneration and for an agency. For the last few years, Ian has been Deputy Director in the Scottish Government Learning Directorate with responsibility for teacher support and school infrastructure. After a short career break in the early part of the year (see below), Ian has now moved to this newly created position and has taken some time out to answer a few questions about his new post:
1. What attracted you to this role?
To play a part in the Scottish Government’s largest and most challenging reform programme. And because this is a role with considerable and immediate importance to people and families across Scotland. Finally if handled well, I think it will make a huge contribution to tackling inequality and helping those most in need.
2. In your view, what would you say are the key factors to successful integration?
It would be insulting of me to presume knowledge of the key factors for Health and Social Care Integration after such a short time, however from my experience of other reform programmes I would say that a strong political will and a strong platform are critical. We seem to have both of these and colleagues take immense credit for the strong platform that is the Act and all its associated guidance which is most impressive.
But we all know that this may not even be half the battle won – even tougher challenges lie ahead in helping make it all work. In this – people are key, relationships are key: from the leadership roles to the frontline we must support and generate ownership of health and social care integration. Finally, we should not be shy in addressing issues where people are finding it challenging. Sometimes this may be down to commitment being weak or half-hearted but more often than not it is simply challenging to move away from what is familiar or what has worked to some degree in the past.
3. How do we ensure that social care is sustainable given the demographic shift taking place?
We need to ensure that the social care system is properly funded and sustainable well into the future and is responsive to the challenges and opportunities of Scotland’s ageing population. This is partly about valuing the vital work being done in social care so we can attract and retain the right people into the profession to deliver quality services. Some work has already been done to improve pay for staff in residential care homes and we also need to consider working conditions for people providing care to people in their own homes.
It’s important to ensure that the right resources are in place and that we work towards getting more from what we already have. The quantity and quality of social care that our people require is vital, and any charges for care need to be affordable and reasonable and align with our commitment on tackling inequality. As I’m rapidly finding out, the social care system is complicated. We need to consider what more we can do to help people to access, navigate and understand the system.
4. How important is working in partnership with other agencies to achieving positive outcomes for people?
The integration of health and social care and the platform provided in the Act takes partnership to a different level. It goes without saying that sharing information and forward planning with partners is very important. But even more important is acting in partnership and ensuring that the needs of the person is the deciding factor in who does what.
Partnership does not always mean doing everything together. Playing to our respective strengths and respecting the value of others is a critical aspect of partnership.
5. What do you see as the key challenges for your area of work over the coming months?
There are some big organisational challenges in the months ahead. Supporting the Chief Officers and the Joint Integration Boards for example. There is also a job of work internal to Government to share the progress from integration and to fully realise the potential of integration. There is also a need to build on the work we have underway to gather relevant evidence and data, make sense of this and be prepared to learn and adapt to what it is telling us. On a personal level I need to get out and understand the challenges and pressures for those delivering and receiving front line services if I am going to make the best of my strategic and national role.
No change programme can afford to stand still and we need to stand ready to support and learn from those partnerships that want to go further and/or deeper with integration and to facilitate healthy learning between partnerships across Scotland.
6. So what did you get up to on your career break?
I decided to take a short break between posts to get away from it all – some would say a mid-life crisis! I headed off with my bicycle to Southeast Asia, cycling around Myanmar (Burma), across Thailand and finishing in a very hot Cambodia. Met some inspirational people – particularly in the mountains of Myanmar where tourists are rarely seen – and managed to help out with some education projects in the border area of Myanmar and China.
I appreciate this is not everyone’s idea of relaxation but I count myself fortunate enough to be able to do this and what better way to get close up to a country and its people.
For those who may be interested take a glance at Ian’s blog to find out more about his bike journey: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/myanmar2014%0d
For more information on the work of the team contact: email@example.com