Dear All,

Farewell and thanks   

Due to all the support you have given to the Residential Forum in so many ways and over so many years  the Forum has flourished and been an influence for promoting change.   I was, of course, very sad when the time came to recommend that the Forum should be wound up, but I also feel a sense of great  pride at what has been accomplished.  For your support and encouragement I owe you all an immense debt of gratitude.  

When I wrote in my report of the Independent Review of Residential Care, 

A  Positive Choice,that ” we seek to promote a fundamental change in the public perception of the residential sector and of its place in the spectrum of social care”  I never expected that it would lead to the setting up of , first ,The Wagner Development Group followed by the establishment of the  The Residential Forum.  The  Forum swiftly picked up the challenge and ran with it , publishing examples of good practice and latterly organising a series of working parties promoting better quality residential care services.  I think I can safely say, that Residential Care has come a long way since I wrote those words.  I am proud of the part played by the Forum in bringing about the change in  the public perception of the importance of the residential sector.  Without your support we could not have achieved so much.

It is pleasing that we left financially solvent and able to make a donation to the My Home Life Charity, whose board is committed to intergenerational activity and the development of community links, very much in line with our strategic thinking.  The Directors very much hope that through the good offices of Vic Citarella it may be possible to set up a new website reflecting the values of the Residential Forum and also to digitalise the very valuable Residential Forum documents and reports.

I would like to thank you all individually, but as that  is not possible I will just mention two names, Des Kelly and Dick Clough .  They were founder members of the Wagner Development Group and the longest serving members of the Forum.  So thank you Des and Dick and all who supported the The Residential Forum, for your friendship and for all you have done to make residential care a Positive Choice.

Farewell and all good wishes to you all  


Commission on Young Lives

The Commission’s report shows how an over-reliance on a limited number of residential places where demand significantly outstrips supply, inadequate early identification of those children at risk of exploitation, cuts to funding for early intervention programmes, outdated fostering models, a broken children’s home ‘market’ and the frequent criminalisation of children in the care system is allowing too many children in care to fall into danger.

Balancing Risk and Quality Report

At the heart of the work of the Residential Forum is the promotion of a quality service to those who live and work in residential care homes and similar residential establishments.

Developing the Workforce in Residential Care

As part of its commitment to improving standards and raising the status of staff in residential services, the Residential Forum devoted its March 2011 workshop to considering how managers and staff could be enabled to meet the rising expectations of residents, relatives, commissioners and the public. The workshop was supported by Skills for Care and the Social Care Institute for Excellence.

Financial challenges facing the residential care sector

It cannot be disputed that the financial challenges facing the residential care sector pose a huge threat to standards of care and support.

Residential care is of course not alone in facing financial challenges but it is a service that is absolutely people-centred and it will not be possible to compromise on standards.

At this time of financial constraint it is essential that all those involved in the provision of residential care decide what we want the service to do. The workshop was supported by Skills for Care and the Social Care Institute for Excellence.

Leadership in Residential Care

Leadership is a subject that can arouse considerable discussion across all walks of life. Politics, Sport, Education, The Military, Commerce are just a few of the areas that prize leadership as an essential to the work that they under take.

Residential Care has not in recent years had leadership to the fore. In fact to the contrary people who exhibited leadership, particularly heads of residential homes sometimes had their motives questioned if they displayed overt characteristics of leadership. However, in more recent times politicians, civil servants and regulators have recognised that those responsible for managing and those responsible on site for delivering residential care have a responsibility to exercise leadership when caring for others.

Modernising Residential Care

The future of residential care has been subject to much comment in political, media and social care settings and the Residential Forum concluded that the time was right to bring together a wide range of people to discuss the subject over a 24-hour period. Over 30 people contributed from all four countries of the United Kingdom, including representatives of Government Departments, regulatory bodies, registration authorities, training organisations, promoters of excellence in social care, relatives and service users, providers, academic institutions, practitioners and members of the Residential Forum.

Promoting a Positive Choice for Social Care: Countering the Critics

The Residential Forum’s November 2014 Workshop began by recognising the sector attracted high levels of criticism, and found it hard to counter its critics. This is not new. Residential care has been much criticised over the years. Some of the criticisms have been justified, but many are overstated or unfair. Countless reports have been written about residential care, but with some honourable exceptions, few have been followed up. As a result, residential care services have become accustomed to receiving criticism from many quarters; and the sector has appeared to staff and the public to be passive in accepting and not challenging such criticism. What should be done about this?

Report Writing – Maybe boring but essential

Report writing is perhaps not the most interesting of subjects that staff in residential care home have to address yet it becomes of ever increasing importance not only to good practice but to ensuring that regulatory and legal requirements are also met.

Residential Care and the Workforce

Previous workshops explored a wide range of themes addressing the challenges posed by modernisation, group work and supported living services for working age adults,  services for children and young people and people with learning disabilities, as well as residential care for older people.  The Workshop took the theme of The Future for the Workforce in Residential Care.  It has been a thread running through discussions and presentations at previous workshops, because a safe supported competent workforce is vital to the future of the sector, and, more importantly, is vital to the quality of care provided.

Residential Care of Children

What is the vision for children’s residential care in the United Kingdom in the 21st century?

What are the key elements of a framework to embody and deliver the vision?

What sort of action plan will promote implementation of the vision and framework at national and local levels?

Residential Care of Older People

The public perception of residential care as institutional care is so pervasive and so strong that the negative image has become firmly rooted in collective consciousness. In turn this negative image serves to strengthen prejudice against residential care as a service of positive choice. Prejudice against residential care has become ‘institutionalised’ in policy directives, by professionals and as a consequence the potential contribution to community care services has been marginalised and devalued. Nevertheless residential care for older people remains a significant service option.

Residential Care of Younger Adults

How should the needs of working age adults (aged 18 to 64) who require group or supported living be met? This was the question faced by the Residential Forum, and this paper summarises the conclusions it reached.

Social work, residential services and the people who live and work there

The Workshop was an opportunity for a preliminary look at the issues around:

  • How we identify and respond to the social work needs of young people, working age adults and older people living in residential settings.
  • The factors that help and hinder good working relationships between social workers and residential staff.
  • How the present situation could be improved.
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