Blogs from the breakouts

12 July 2016

Understanding the health and care sectors: a guide for employability people

Many of the speakers at IntoWork emphasised the need, more than ever, to connect different sectors in order to provide a much more seamless, joined-up approach for people seeking work.  So it helps, if you’re working in employability, to know something about what’s happening in social care, the NHS, local government and other areas.  If you’re aware, for instance, that social care provision is not like the NHS or local government – it’s highly fragmented, and mainly in the hands of private or not-for-profit sector organisations – you’re more likely to think of going to a local care association and making common cause with them.  Similarly, if you’re aware of the 44 Sustainability and Transformation Plans currently being developed across the NHS, with a view to taking a much more holistic view about people’ health and well-being, you can think about approaching STP teams with a view to working collaboratively, not least because of the evidence that finding work can play a key role in developing people’s self-esteem and improving mental health.  And if you know of the Devolution Deals agreed or being planned in your area, you can identify new initiatives under consideration for work, learning and skills.  The key thing is to make a start: find a coalition of the willing – people who think like you across other sectors – and work with them to make real changes.  Don’t wait to ask permission (or be given it) and follow the lead wherever it goes.

Rising to the disability employment challenge 

The government has a laudable aim to halve the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people by 2020.  According to Papworth Trust, the employment rate amongst working-age disabled people is c. 46%; the equivalent rate amongst non-disabled people is 84%.  Halving this gap would mean a 1.5m increase in the number of disabled people in work, and if we keep going at the same rate, the Learning and Skills Institute reckons it will take us 200 years. We can’t afford – in every sense – to wait that long.  So it will be interesting to see how the new Green Paper, and the new Health and Work Programme, look to do things differently.  One thing that came across from the panel and discussion was the need for much more innovation.  But the more innovation you have, the higher your rate of initiatives that fail – that’s bound to happen when you’re trying our new ways of working.  Will our government departments and political system – famously concerned to have success at all costs – be prepared to go along with this?  One idea, suggested by Charlotte Pickles of Reform and also tried out in Systems Leadership programmes, is to have ‘skunk works’ or ‘safe-fail experiments’ to run innovative projects and – importantly – evaluate them to see what really works.  And it helps, in the words of another organisation, to ‘Think Local, Act Personal’ – to build relationships and connections at a local level and go with what works in particular localities.  If we want to do things differently, maybe that’s exactly what we have to try.

InterWork2016 LogoDebbie Sorkin is National Director of Systems Leadership at The Leadership Centre

This blog is part of a series of blogs produced at IntoWork Convention 2016