Aliens Guide to Health and Work19 July 2016
I arrived at the Convention this year with a little trepidation. Contracts are coming to an end, funding is being reduced, more delivery is expected for less money, customer groups are more complex, their are less details than all would like available about the Work and Health Programme and the development of those that provide services is not keeping pace consistently with this ever changing market place.
IEP has been busy, our reach is increasing to all forms of membership, we are supporting the strategic direction of services by acting as a trusted conduit between the Work and Health Unit and frontline practitioners and we have recently presented both written and verbal evidence to the Work and Pensions Select Committee on the requirements for JCP to develop their adviser base through formal and informal training and the need to link all elements of the sector through real networking opportunities that develop positive relationships.
The convention was a great success for the IEP, chairing a debate with key thought leaders in the wider sector was an honour and the launch of the new Learning and Work Institute Report on “Halving the Gap; Making the Work and Health Programme work for disabled people” was insightful. Hosting the Aliens Guide event where specialist practitioners from the worlds of employability, social care, healthcare, housing and policy came together to share their views and best practice in the form of a “big conversation” was great fun. To say that debate was heated at times is an understatement but I am told that all went away from the session with greater understanding and a further appreciation of the work that is done across our sector.
IEP engaged with more people than ever and I believe that we have become a trusted place in times good and bad, importantly when the view is that things are not going so well. I had many a conversation with members and non-members and I can honestly say that in general more positivity was shown than maybe there had been in some of the plenaries or breakout sessions.
So with that in mind my advice, for what it is worth, is let’s get on with the job in hand. It will be tough but this is the most imaginative and innovative market place in the world with some truly amazing people. Let’s not lose focus just because we do not have all the pieces of the jigsaw and most importantly let’s make sure that we continue to invest in our workforce because without that we have no hope of delivering excellent services to those people that really need our help.
Scott Parkin is Chair of the Institute of Employability Professionals (IEP) .
This blog is part of a series of blogs produced at IntoWork Convention 2016